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A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: from the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube [Kindle Edition]

Patrick Leigh Fermor
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
Kindle Price: £6.49 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £3.50 (35%)
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description

In 1933, at the age of 18, Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on an extraordinary journey by foot - from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. A Time of Gifts is the first volume in a trilogy recounting the trip, and takes the reader with him as far as Hungary.



It is a book of compelling glimpses - not only of the events which were curdling Europe at that time, but also of its resplendent domes and monasteries, its great rivers, the sun on the Bavarian snow, the storks and frogs, the hospitable burgomasters who welcomed him, and that world's grandeurs and courtesies. His powers of recollection have astonishing sweep and verve, and the scope is majestic.


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Review

Nothing short of a masterpiece (Jan Morris)

[Fermor's] gloriously ornate account of that epic journey is a classic of what we might call the 'literature of the leg' (Robert Macfarlane, Waitrose Weekend)

A treasure chest of descriptive writing (Spectator)

Not only is the journey one of physical adventure but of cultural awakening. Architecture, art, genealogy, quirks of history and language are all devoured - and here passed on - with a gusto uniquely his (Colin Thubron, Sunday Telegraph)

Every page of this book is distinguished by an image, a metaphor, a flash of humour always original and sometimes as incisive as a laser beam. (Vincent Cronin)

A tremendous journey ... and he's fabulous company (Manchester Evening News)

This is a traveller's tale at its infectious and informative best; vividly remembered and beautifully written (Church Times)

John Murray is doing the decent thing and reissuing all of Leigh Fermor's main books ... But what else would you expect from a publisher whose commitment to geography is such that for more than two centuries it has widened our understanding of the world? (Geographical Magazine)

Rightly considered to be among the most beautiful travel books in the language (Independent)

Bringing the landscape alive as no other writer can, he uses his profound and eclectic understanding of cultures and peoples ... to paint vivid pictures - nobody has illuminated the geography of Europe better (Geographical Magazine)

Book Description

The great travel classic, first published in 1977 and recounting an epic journey of nearly 50 years before, now available in John Murray B-format for the first time.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2614 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1590171659
  • Publisher: John Murray; New Ed edition (10 Oct. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0049MPHV2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,575 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, a must read........... 28 Jun. 2000
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first book of two describing a 1,200 mile walk from Holland to Constantinople undertaken in 1934 when the author was 18 years old. The book was written some forty years later, events and people recalled from memory and notes in a diary.
The language of this book is pure poetry, just a delight to read. The author beautifully describes amazing countryside, castles, rivers, fascinating and incredibly generous people and a way of life in parts of Europe that were forever destroyed by the war. He walked through Germany during the time that Nazism was in the ascendancy, giving hope and optimism to a nation that had long been on its knees. It is fascinating to read about the excitement that Nazism brought to Germany in 1934 with the knowledge of the destruction and horror that it brought to the World just a few short years later.
The author met the most amazing people, a lot through good luck and fortune, but a lot to do with the fact that the author comes across as a delightful companion; polite, intelligent and with a young man's enthusiasm for life and living.
I can't wait to read the second part, 'Between the Woods and the Water'.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great travel classic and much more 4 Feb. 2006
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Leigh Fermor's great classic is extraordinary. His language is immensely beautiful, but I beleive that the secret to understand the book is that he is actually painting pictures with words. There are some great set pieces: the walk in Holland, breakfast in Rottterdam, the cold, the chateau life he began to lead after Munich. He is a polymath and the book is not really travel literature at all, or if it is, it is of a totally different order to anything I have ever read. Will Leigh Fermor write the promised third part of the great trilogy?
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely magical lyrical delight 23 July 2009
Format:Paperback
I bought this book on the strength of the reviews having stumbled across it on one of my Amazon rambles and I am very glad that I did. I am giving it 5 stars and my own review as I wanted to join the already substantial voices that praise this book.

The lyrical prose that Leigh Fermor uses deftly draws us into this almost magical Europe. He summons up images from a bygone era without once touching on cliche or the sometimes pedestrian descriptions often found in travelogues. Following him from the ice-bound canals of the polders of the Netherlands, down the castle strewn Rhine and across the snowy mountains and woods of Bavaria and Austria we are introduced to a range of fascinating characters and lost customs. Tableaus of Breughelesqe scenes in tankard-filled inns or moonlit trudges across a starlit landscape come alive in his skilled hands.

Clearly an incredibly talented linguist, observant social anthropologist and knowledgeable individual he uses his talents liberally to describe and illuminate Europe in the early 1930's. The fact that it was written with the benefit of hindsight adds to the book's rich detail rather than detracting from it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's better to travel 16 July 2014
By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this remarkable travelogue as a Christmas present for my son-in-law, who enjoyed it so much that he recommended I read it. It's an account of the adventures of a young man as he walks across Europe in the early 1930's from the Hook of Holland as far as the Czechoslovakia-Hungary border (subsequent volumes Between the Woods and the Water and The Broken Road continue his journey on to Constantinople). The author has a keen eye for details, and his memories of some of them have been reinforced by the diary he kept on the trip. But the eye is worthless without the gift of telling. Look at this:

"A rival pallor was spreading at the other end of the sky, and very fast. Behind a flutter of hills a rim of blood-red lunar segment was rising. It expanded to its full diameter and then dwindled; and when the circumference was complete a tremendous crimson moon was casting loose. It changed to orange and then to yellow as it climbed and diminished until all the colour had ebbed away and left it to soar with the aloof and airy effulgence of sliver. [...] While the light was seeking out more and more liquid surfaces for reflection, the sky, where the moon was now sailing towards its zenith, seemed to have become an expanse of silvery powder too fine for the grain to be descried. Silence transcended the bitterns' notes and the industry of the frogs.
Read more ›
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves its reputation as a classic 25 Feb. 2008
Format:Paperback
At first I had trouble adjusting to Leigh Fermor's extremely descriptive style. He furnishes his writing with rarely-used words and is happy to hold up the story for pages while he sidetracks us with art historical or architectural speculations. However, his charm and learning prove irresistible. This is an unforgettable book.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a magical journey 11 Aug. 2005
By jmm
Format:Paperback
I have read this book at least three times. It never fails to entrance me.
This records not just a journey , but also a way of life and an era which the second world war changed for ever.
His eye for detail and gifts of lively desciption more than stand the test of time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST READ
Brilliant. Exquisite. Enchanting.
Published 16 days ago by Chuckle
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Exceptionally good in parts, but rather tedious on European history and architecture.
Published 1 month ago by D MACDONALD
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly inspirational gift.
Evocative, informative and so well written. So much of Europe and its history brought to life. Lovely to really use the dictionary in Kindle and learn some new words too. Read more
Published 1 month ago by C. Gilhooly
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read.
Enchanting -this book belongs to a trio, all of which are excellent.
Published 2 months ago by Elizabeth Moon
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
The prose was typically P Leigh Fermour ver goog
Published 2 months ago by Eileen P Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My husband thinks this is a wonderful book.
Published 2 months ago by Foxy Lady
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlivening
Patrick Leigh Fermor's fist book of the series that narrate his trip on foot from Holland to Constantinople, and further, is and enlivening read for lovers of youth and for those... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joan Enric Torrent Garcia
5.0 out of 5 stars I have received this book which is brand new. ...
I have received this book which is brand new. I have not as yet read it, however, I am sure it will be worth buying.
Published 3 months ago by Bregis
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent
Published 3 months ago by Steve Burns
4.0 out of 5 stars A book worth reading - with some work involved!!
Written by the author of his time walking to Constantinople as a 19yr old. Overlaid his memory with his learnt academic, philosophic perspectives. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sarah Middleton
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