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Under the Sun: The Letters of Bruce Chatwin
Synopses & Reviews
The definitive collection of correspondence from a legendary writer, providing new perspectives on his extraordinary life.
The celebrated author of such beloved works as In Patagonia and The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin was a nomad whose desire for adventure and enlightenment was made wholly evident by his writing. A man of intense energy and chameleonlike complexity, he was, in his life as in his art, forever in quest of the exotic and the unexpected. He moved at ease within diverse art, literary, and social circles, and his lifelong travels took him to the farthest-flung corners of Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia.
This marvelous selection of letters-to his wife, Elizabeth; to his parents, Charles and Margharita; and to friends, including Patrick Leigh Fermor, James Ivory, Paul Theroux, and Susan Sontag-reveals a passionate man and a storyteller par excellence, spinning the narrative of his life from his first week of school to his untimely death. Written with the verve and sharpness of expression that first marked him as a writer of singular talent, Chatwin's letters provide a vivid record of his changing interests and concerns, as well as chronicling his lifelong restlessness and the gestation of his books. Under the Sun is the closest readers will get to an autobiography by this exceptional literary talent.
"Celebrated English travel writer and novelist Chatwin (In Patagonia) died of AIDS 20 years ago; he was only 48. His letters — from such far-flung locales as Sweden, Afghanistan, his beloved Greece, Turkey, Africa, and, of course, Patagonia — are lovingly compiled and thoroughly annotated, with indispensable narrative (explaining, for instance, Chatwin's sudden conversion to Eastern Christianity) by Chatwin's widow and his biographer. Given to impulsive life and career changes, Chatwin discusses the full range of life from the mundane to the spiritual, from his writing to his dislike of his own 'pretty boy' looks. He charmed or intimately knew such cultural movers and shakers as Christopher Isherwood, Susan Sontag, Jasper Johns, Edmund White, and many others. There were at least two serious long-term relationships with men (one with filmmaker James Ivory). Yet the Chatwins remained married and always intellectual partners; toward the end of his life, Chatwin writes, despite marital difficulties, 'neither of us have loved anyone else.' (Feb. 7)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
First published in Great Britain in 2010 by Jonathan Cape.
"Wonderful...the closest we are ever going to get to a Chatwin autobiography."
-William Dalrymple, The Times Literary Supplement (London)
The celebrated author of such beloved works as In Patagonia and The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin was a nomad whose desire for adventure and enlightenment was made wholly evident by his writing. This marvelous selection of letters-to his wife, to his parents, and to friends, including Patrick Leigh Fermor, James Ivory, and Paul Theroux- reveals a passionate man and a storyteller par excellence. Written with the verve and sharpness of expression that first marked him as an author of singular talent, Chatwin's letters provide a window into his remarkable life and strikingly detailed insights regarding his literary ambitions and tastes.
About the Author
Bruce Chatwin was born in 1940 and was the author of In Patagonia, The Viceroy of Ouidah, On the Black Hill, The Songlines, and Utz. The last three he considered works of fiction. His other books include the essay collections What Am I Doing Here and The Anatomy of Restlessness. Chatwin died in Nice, France, on January 18, 1989.
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