Praise for The Spirit Wrestlers:
‘Marsden has movingly captured these communities in a series of exquisitely drawn word pictures. His encounters sing with a lyric intensity and he approaches his subjects with the clarity of a historian and the pity of a tragic dramatist.’ – Amanda Foreman, Independent
‘Marsden … has painted a picture of the land between the Black Sea and the Caspian which can only leave us aghast with wonder.’ – Teresa Waugh, Literary Review
‘Having turned the last page of Philip Marsden’s book, I sincerely regretted that it was my first encounter with this excellent travel writer. The Spirit-Wrestlers charmed me’ – Vitali Vitaliev, Daily Telegraph
Praise for The Bronski House:
‘Magnificent… a Polish Wild Swans meets Dr Zhivago, written in some of the most exquisite prose in the genre since the death of Chatwin.’ – William Dalrymple, Sunday Times Books of the Year
‘A tragic story, beautifully told.’ – Colin Thubron, Daily Telegraph Books of the Year
‘The book I’ve savoured most this year.’ – John Fowles, Spectator Books of the Year
'His minimalist prose sketches one of the most remote regions of the world and the elusive spirit of its people'
Mail on Sunday
'subtly enchanting...Marsden is such a passionate companion that...one has no difficulty sticking with him until the journey's end'
"Philip Marsden...has been described as an heir to Patrick Leigh Fermour and been bracketed with Bruce Chatwin...'
Times Literary Supplement
'...into his travels are woven stories that bring to life the seamless history of an ancient land...wonderful words.'
Philip Marsden returns to the remote, fiercely beautiful landscape that has exercised a powerful mythic appeal over him since his first encounter with it over twenty years ago.
‘Ethiopia bred in me the conviction that if there is a wider purpose to our life, it is to understand the world, to seek out its diversity, to celebrate its heroes and its wonders – in short, to witness it.’
When Philip Marsden first went to Ethiopia in 1982, it changed the direction of his life. What he saw of its stunning antiquity, its raw Christianity, its extremes of brutality and grace prompted his curiosity, and made him a writer.
But Ethiopia at that time was torn apart by civil war. The north, the ancient heartland of the country, was closed off. Twenty years later, Marsden returned. The result is this book – the account of a journey deferred.
Walking hundreds of miles through a landscape of cavernous gorges, tabletop mountains and semi-desert, Marsden encounters monks and hermits, rebels and farmers. And he creates an unforgettable picture of one of the most remote regions left on earth. As in his award-winning book ‘The Spirit-Wrestlers’, Marsden reminds us of the brilliant heights that travel writing can attain, whilst celebrating the ageless rewards of the open road and the people for whom the mythic and the everyday are inextricably joined.
About the Author
Philip Marsden is the author of A Far Country: Travels in Ethiopia, The Crossing Place: Among the Armenians (which won the Somerset Maugham Award), The Bronski House, The Spirit-Wrestlers: And Other Survivors of the Russian Century (WINNER OF THE Thomas Cook Travel Book of the Year Award) and the novel The Main Cages. He is the editor of The Spectator Book of Travel Writing and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His work has been translated into ten languages.
Philip Marsden lives in Cornwall.