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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting tale that lingers in the imagination
Patrick Leigh Fermor joins the pantheon of writers such as Choderlos de Laclos who bothered the world with one perfect novel and then, for one reason or another, declined to pen another. Thank heavens he didn't deny us the joy of his travel writing.

This slim volume of elegant prose will linger in your imagination long after you put it down. I can think of no...
Published on 10 July 2010 by N. Morton

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit OTT
An interesting tale but PLF can't resist showing off his knowledge of Latin and other languages, leaving those who are not so educated rather floundering. The descriptive passages are rather over coloured for my taste too, and I found myself skipping them.
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting tale that lingers in the imagination, 10 July 2010
By 
N. Morton "jesusboots" (jesusboots) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Violins of Saint-Jacques: A Tale of the Antilles (Paperback)
Patrick Leigh Fermor joins the pantheon of writers such as Choderlos de Laclos who bothered the world with one perfect novel and then, for one reason or another, declined to pen another. Thank heavens he didn't deny us the joy of his travel writing.

This slim volume of elegant prose will linger in your imagination long after you put it down. I can think of no other writer who understands the cadences and beauty of the English language to such a high degree. Like a Corinthian column: ornate, polished, decorative and yet reassuringly solid, he is a virtuoso performer and should be far better known and revered than he is.

Buy this book. It is wonderful. Then go out and buy a Time of Gifts, the first volume telling of his epic walk to Constantinople at the age of 18.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short, Sharp and Fantastic, 26 Feb 2009
This review is from: The Violins of Saint-Jacques: A Tale of the Antilles (Paperback)
The Violins of St Jacques is a masterpiece in short fiction. Heart Breaking and warming in equal measure, it is a story that lingers in the mind long after the 144 pages are read and shelved. It is amazing how much life and colour Leigh-Fermor manages to pack into this short tale - well worth a read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 2 Feb 2009
By 
Mark (Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Violins of Saint-Jacques: A Tale of the Antilles (Paperback)
A fascinating snapshot of life in a faraway land, its excellent writing painting pictures in the imagination.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patrick Leigh Fermor at his very best, 8 Jan 2014
By 
T. D. Dawson "tdawson735" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Violins of Saint-Jacques: A Tale of the Antilles (Paperback)
Before reading `The Violins of Saint-Jacques' I'd read and enjoyed a number of his books (although, if I'm honest, I had some problems with Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese - and found the last chapter of Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece a little strange). The details are spelt out in my reviews of the two books.

Although the telling of the story of `The Violins of Saint-Jacques' happens in the recent past it is, essentially, the tale of an almost-romance that took place many, many years earlier. His word-picture of life on that small and near-idyllic Caribbean island is beautifully detailed and utterly believable - including the presence of an ignored but far from dormant volcano.

The fluent style of writing is typically Paddy although his normal detour into historical and religious detail is minimal - and would, in this setting, have been decidedly out of place.

The eternal playing of the violins of Saint-Jacques (but only, of course, for those that can hear them) gives a deft twist to the finale of an imaginative and cleverly crafted story.

Read and enjoy...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely delightful novelette, 10 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Violins of Saint-Jacques: A Tale of the Antilles (Paperback)
Based on a real incident in the Caribbean, the eruption of Mount Pelee on Martinique in 1902, this little book wonderfully brings to life the people and circumstances of that time and place. You might want to read the Traveller's Tree, also by PLF after reading this gem. Best thing on the Caribbean I have ever read! Don't miss it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Miniature Masterpiece, 10 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Violins of Saint-Jacques: A Tale of the Antilles (Paperback)
When Major Patrick Leigh Fermor DSO, OBE, left the army at the end of the 2ed World War he once again became foot-loose and fancy-free. Not for him a stockbroker's life of keeping up with the Jones's with a two-tone Humber Super Snipe and a mock Tudor residence in Godalming ! We have become the gainers in as much as he decided to explore the Caribbean and because out of it came "The Travellers' Tree" in 1950 and his unique novel, this superb gem, three years later.

Of course we must admit that PLF was an inveterate elitist and romantic royalist to boot and the storyline to this remarkable book must have welled up over a period of time in countless daydreams or from strands of fragments remembered from the night while he was garavanting about in that part of the world. Little by little he assembled his armoury of telling detail - the elaborate dress, the cornucopia of food and drink, the mannerisms, the local French accent - nothing became forgotten. Although the novel is very short it is as though it is stitched in "petit point". But the effect is grandiose.

It is exceptionally cleverly constructed with the narrator in the first person singular exchanging places with Berthe de Rennes whose early-life experience forms the real subject matter of this book. She is relating her story to him informally over several meals at table at her home on a Greek Island half a century on. However, because she had been able to capture the atmosphere of the time and place in sketch books which reinforce her moving story the narrator becomes completely immersed in the drama of the unfolding events and so in parts takes on the telling. In so doing he immerses us, the readers, with him as though we too are witnesses. The plot may not be wholly believeable, but in spite of that I believe this to be great literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer beauty!, 2 Mar 2013
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Some of the most evocative reading I have ever experienced.
For me this book ranks along with "Di Lampedusa" by Giuseppe Tomasi. Beautiful story beautifully told but not an intellectual exercise.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A moment frozen in time, 22 Oct 2012
This review is from: The Violins of Saint-Jacques: A Tale of the Antilles (Paperback)
A delightful little book, sparkling with colour and light and nostalgia. The whirl of the party and the horror of the eruption are both drawn out longer than one might think possible, but the writer holds our attention wonderfully well. Even after setting aside the French location, I still find it hard to believe that this jewel-like short novel was not written by a French author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Deliscious Little Read, 29 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Violins of Saint-Jacques: A Tale of the Antilles (Paperback)
I just finished reading this book and it was deliscious! The decription of the carnival is etched in my memory. One has a glimpse of a life far away a century ago...I looked up the author and found out that coincidently he passed away a couple of weeks ago...what an interesting life. I shall move on to read more by the same author.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit OTT, 21 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Violins of Saint-Jacques: A Tale of the Antilles (Paperback)
An interesting tale but PLF can't resist showing off his knowledge of Latin and other languages, leaving those who are not so educated rather floundering. The descriptive passages are rather over coloured for my taste too, and I found myself skipping them.
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The Violins of Saint-Jacques: A Tale of the Antilles
The Violins of Saint-Jacques: A Tale of the Antilles by Patrick Leigh Fermor (Paperback - 26 April 2004)
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