Patrick (Paddy) Leigh Fermor R.I.P.
Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor (11th February 1915 to 10th June 2011) the illustrious writer of magnificent prose has died. I regard his small output as being written in the finest style of any English author I have read.
All who have seen the Powell and Pressburger film Ill Met By Moonlight will have come across Fermor the Special Operations Executive officer who captured the German General Heinrich Kreipe in Crete. Fermor was played by Dirk Bogarde and Kreipe by Marius Goring. Fermor was not the writer of this film which was scripted by his fellow officer, W Stanley Moss MC, who hid with Fermor and Kreipe for weeks in a cave. Fermor and Kreipe developed a deep mutual respect owing to their love of classical Greek poetry and they remet in the 70s on This is Your Life !
The adolescent Fermor set off on a long walking journey across Europe. It was not until the 70s that he got round to describing these adventures and the life-long friends whom he made en route in his finest books A time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Waters. Before that he wrote of his Macedonian and Greek war experiences in Mani and Roumeli and described a sojourn in a Norman monastery A Time to Keep Silence. The Violins of Saint-Jacques, his only novel, was turned into an opera by Malcolm Williamson.
Last edited by Chris Newman; 11-06-11 at 14:21.
Reason: stylistic changes
I first read A Time of Gifts years ago: an absolutely wonderful book. There's a nice brief tribute in today's Overgrown Path blog, with a link to many obituaries & tributes.
Let's pray that the long-awaited vol 3 of his trilogy appears, there are lots of rumours about it and I cannot believe that it will remain unpublished, if it is anywhere near complete.
What a truly wonderful man.
A Time of Gifts has also been one of my favourite 'travel' books - and how I wished to have been able to travel across Europe in those days when, well, when things were as they were then. I've just bought Karen Armstrong's book on Islam, but I think I'll first read A Time of Gifts again. It's an inspirational book (as is Belloc's The Path to Rome).
Last edited by french frank; 13-06-11 at 20:34.
Gosh, one of my very favourite writers. I think I've read all his main books twice if not more. Mani, Roumeli, A Time of Gifts and its sequel, and probably my fav, The Traveller's Tree, his account of early 50s Caribbean. William Dalrymple's From The Holy Mountain is in the same league to my mind.