Biographies / Autobiorgaphies · Non-Fiction.

A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor

This is a fascinating book. The author walked from Rotterdam to Istanbul when he was 18, just before the rise of Hitler in the 1930s.

Fermor seemed to be a King of Prose. In a world when sentiment boils down to 120 characters, it is refreshing to read a book where someone richly describes the background he inhabits or is travelling in. Sometimes his wording is a bit over the top, but he richly describes a world where the doors were thrown open for him in his travels.

This must have been true in the interwar years. I can hardly imagine doing that sort of thing now. I don’t think people could readily go on such an escapade in the 21st century and expect the same level of hospitality – probably being met with suspicion most likely.

While this book was good, it wasn’t spectacular. If I was the sort of person who liked travelling, or the history of obscure dominions then this would be a good book. Otherwise, its something to return to once in a while. The older author reflects on writings made by his younger self. It really is very fascinating.

The hints of Nazism present throughout the book are intriguing to read. I would have loved to meet Fermor and talk to him, but unfortunately he died in 2011.

MY RATING: 3.5 / 5.


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