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Conundrum [Paperback]

Jan Morris
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

8 April 2002 European Road Maps

As one of Britain's best and most loved travel writers, Jan Morris has led an extraordinary life. Perhaps her most remarkable work is this grippingly honest account of her ten-year transition from man to woman - its pains and joys, its frustrations and discoveries. On first publication in 1974, the book generated enormous interest and curiosity around the world, and was subsequently chosen by The Times as one of the '100 Key Books of Our Time'. Including a new introduction, this re-issue marks a return to that particular journey.

'Certainly the best first-hand account ever written by a traveller across the boundaries of sex.' Daily Mail

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (8 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571209467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571209460
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A compelling and moving read, a world away from the tabloid titillation that normally surrounds the subject. -- Daily Mail, 12 April 2002

A perfectly formed work of art, achieving the state of grace to which its creator so elegantly aspires. -- Times Literary Supplement, 17 May 2002

In a new introduction, Morris describes the book as a period piece. She does herself and injustice. It is a classic. -- The Times, 30 March 2002

The book is as compelling today as when it first appeared. -- Evening Standard, 8 April 2002

Writing about her self, a place she has explored profoundly, she achieves inspired reportage and a courageous self-analysis. -- Observer, 24 March 2002

About the Author

Jan Morris was born in 1926 of a Welsh father and an English mother, and when she is not travelling she lives with her partner Elizabeth Morris in the top left-hand corner of Wales, between the mountains and the sea. Her books include Coronation Everest, Venice, The Pax Britannica Trilogy (Heaven's Command, Pax Britannica, and Farewell the Trumpets), and Conundrum. She is also the author of six books about cities and countries, two autobiographical books, several volumes of collected travel essays and the unclassifiable Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere. A Writer's World, a collection of her travel writing and reportage from over five decades, was published in 2003. Hav, her novel, was published in a new and expanded form in 2006.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAN ENOUGH TO BE A WOMAN... 9 April 2004
This is an intriguing memoir, beautifully written by an author who has written numerous other non-fiction books. Jan Morris, formerly known as James Morris, was the correspondent for the London Times assigned to cover England's historic summit of Everest. The author actually accompanied the expedition to the Himalayas and did on site dispatches of the historic event. It would be as James Morris that she would write the wonderful book, "Coronation Everest", which chronicles the events leading to the historic summit of Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on the eve of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The author would eventually become a celebrated writer of many travel books, journeying the world over.
This very personal book is an autobiographical narrative of the author's own gender dysphoria, as she, a biological male at birth, had always felt that she had been born into the wrong body. Elegantly written, it is not a book for those who are seeking tabloid sensationalism. Rather, it is, at times, somewhat anachronistic in feel, as it was written by someone who lived through a time when actual gender changes were still in the nascent stages. Passing historical references are made to those transsexuals who paved the way for others.
The author's account of her early life is fascinating, as much of it was spent in traditional male pursuits of the time. A stint in the army as a member of the 9th Queen's Royal Lancers, years as a well-known foreign correspondent, as well as husband and father, were all roles in which the author found some satisfaction but never total fulfillment, as her gender dysphoria continually intruded upon her happiness, a dark cloud hovering over all that she did and all that she was.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars being born in the wrong gender 23 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a well-written autobiographical account of how Jan Morris came to realise that she had been born in the wrong gender, and changed to become a woman. It is essential reading for anyone trying to understand their friends and acquaintances who have undergone this procedure.
It was written nearly forty years ago, and Jan Morris was born in the 1920s, so an added interest is her observations (from the point of view of someone of that generation) about how the two different genders are treated in social occasions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An odyssey through the world of gender 31 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Candid memoirs of a life which started off in a body of the wrong gender. Having served in the army, no one can say Jan Morris didn't try to make a go of her birth gender. Nor did she rush into her sex-change. A little dated now in its attitudes, but that's the penalty of being one of the pioneers. Her writing style is a delight to read, as ever, with its muted humour and shrewd observation.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A conundrum indeed 22 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jan Morris takes us on a very personal tour as she undertakes the extremely difficult transformation from Mr Morris to Ms Morris
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5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and personal 13 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had wanted to read this for many years but not got around to it. It is a truthful and unblenching account of how one person changed gender and still managed to maintain family responsibilities.
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