Patrick Leigh Fermor: A Time of Gifts


A Time of Gifts in 100 Words

In December 1933 Patrick Leigh Fermor, aged eighteen, set out to walk from Rotterdam to Istanbul. This volume ends at the Danube and is compelling recovery of a middle-aged writer’s youthful zest and engaging curiosity.

Handsome, charming, erudite, blessed with a gift for languages and inspired by a Latin anthology, Fermor was befriended by many whose hospitality weakened his resolve to “sleep in hayricks… shelter in barns… and only consort with peasants and tramps”. Entertained by a string of eccentric, elegant, educated and aristocratic hosts, he gained an insight into a world soon to be utterly destroyed by war.

Key Quotations

I wanted to think, write, stay or move on at my own speed and unencumbered, to gaze at things with a changed eye and listen to new tongues that were untainted by a single familiar word.

(p. 13)

Patrick Leigh Fermor (b. 1915)