Patrick Leigh Fermor

Patrick Leigh Fermor

An Adventure

Book - 2012
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Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) was a war hero whose exploits in Crete are legendary, and above all he is widely acclaimed as the greatest travel writer of our times, notably for his books about his walk across pre-war Europe, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water ; he was a self-educated polymath, a lover of Greece and the best company in the world.

Artemis Cooper has drawn on years of interviews and conversations with Paddy and his closest friends as well as having complete access to his archives. Her beautifully crafted biography portrays a man of extraordinary gifts - no one wore their learning so playfully, nor inspired such passionate friendship.

Publisher: London : John Murray, 2012.
ISBN: 9780719554490
Characteristics: xiii, 448 pages, [16] pages of plates:,illustrations, plates, maps ;,24 cm


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Nov 13, 2018

This is everything a good biography should be. Underlying the research is a real connection with the subject. I loved reading every page of this book, and re-read in tandem, A Time of Gifts the book Fermor wrote late in his life, detailing the walk he made across Europe in one of the last winters before World War II, at the age of 18/ This is said to be one of the great travel books of the era and I would agree with this.

The author captures the Peter Pan personality that made Fermor a larger than life character. As a youth, his enthusiasm for life, literature and languages endeared him to a wide range of people on his travels, so that one night he might be sleeping in a barn and the next in a crumbling palace. When war broke out he was sent behind the German lines in Crete where his gift for languages and his love of Crete served him well. The famous story of him taking part in the kidnapping of a German General near the end of the war is a fabulous and amazing story in itself.

His life as a writer was long, but each book seemed to cost him an enormous amount and take years to bring to fruition. His relationship with his wife may have been typical of a man of his time, but it made me feel uncomfortable. I felt a sadness in her. Ultimately he was a very selfish man, but a wonderful writer.

Sadly, you will not find a copy of A Time of Gifts in the Yarra Plenty Regional Library as it fails to meet the selection criteria as laid down in the Collection Development Policy, that is summed up with the two words 'current' and 'popular'. When will our library recognise that because a book is out of print does not mean that the book lacks currency or popular appeal?

Oct 16, 2013

Patrick Leigh Fermor's books have always been pretty hard to forget after reading. I always found (and still find) myself going back to reread them again and again. This biography by Cooper is no different. As soon as I finished reading this amazing bio which reads more like an adventure story I had to go out and buy it for myself. Well written you will not get bored but you may wish that you had a time machine to go back in time and live those days and experiences that Fermor did while travelling Europe.

Jun 23, 2013

I thought this was an excellent biography: it's written with clear-eyed honesty and warmth - seems like a rare combination! Really good.

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