I recently won another book from the Waterstones read and review competition in which cardholders receive a free copy of a book in return for posting an honest review on the website. This time, it was a pot luck draw and I got a copy of Artemis Cooper’s biography of the travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor. Again, I am not sure if I can publish my official review in full on my blog but you can read it here under the name Clare90.
This is the sort of book I would normally buy for my dad as a Christmas present rather than for myself but I enjoyed it a lot. It was a bit strange reading an in-depth biography of someone I knew virtually nothing about but even for those, like me, who are not very familiar with Patrick Leigh Fermor’s very long and eventful life, Cooper’s account is very readable and conveys a balanced picture of Fermor’s character despite the author’s close personal acquaintance with him.
The subtitle is particularly appropriate as it really is an “adventure” biography. Aged eighteen, Fermor walked across Europe from Holland to Constantinople. After serving in Crete and mainland Greece during the Second World War, he continued travelling in the Caribbean, Africa and Europe, often with his long-term partner, Joan, who later became his wife.
This biography is thoughtfully written and well-researched. The last forty years or so of Fermor’s life are not really explored in any depth as it is his early adventures which really defined his career but I think it was good that Cooper prioritised the most important and interesting parts. Highly recommended.