- Also check our best rated Travel Book reviews
Ariel: A Literary Life of Jan Morris Paperback – 7 Sep 2017
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
An affectionate tribute to one of the finest and most sympathetic writers alive. (Colin Thubron)
Johns is good at shedding light on Morris’s inimitable, evocative, highly descriptive style . . . this book also reminds us that Morris was, fundamentally, a bloody good journalist. (Nigel Farndale The Times)
Those unfamiliar with Morris's life will enjoy Ariel . . . Johns quotes copiously from the Morrisonian oeuvre. He catches his quarry well with adroit turns of phrase. (Sara Wheeler Observer)
An elegant little volume, which is as much an anthology of excerpts from Morris's writings as it is a "literary life". . . Derek Johns, who was Morris's agent for 20 years, has written an affectionate portrait, although not a hagiography . . . Her writings should be celebrated and enjoyed, and Ariel provides an admirable introduction to them and to Morris's peripatetic life. (Nick Rennison The Sunday Times)
Johns, a novelist in his own right, knits his materials elegantly, adroitly and with affection. (New Statesman)
Full of insight . . . Johns describes her as 'generous, witty, irreverent and affectionate', and suggests that, if she has a religion, it is kindness. He has shown skill and sensitivity in chronicling Morris's brave and cheerful journey through life, where travel has often been a vehicle for an expression of inner transformation. (Andrew Lycett Literary Review)
What Johns offers is much more than a patchwork of extracts. His own prose is elegant and his insights incisive, and though he is affectionate he is not always uncritical. (The Spectator Maggie Fergusson)
An affectionate presentation of the writer’s work . . . Morris’s delicate line drawings are a highlight. (Gaby Wood Daily Telegraph 'Books of the Year')
An appreciation of the work and life of the great historian and travel writer.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Johns describes his book as a literary life. Morris has just turned 90. She is an enigmatic person, one who writes about travel but claims she is not a travel writer. She never hesitates to be candid about herself. Morris has written over 50 books . Her autobiographical book 'Conundrum' describes her sex-change operation.
Among her finest works are those about Venice and Trieste. Eight years ago she was placed 15th in the Times top 50 post-war British writers. The essence of this account by Johns is a guided tour of Morris' writings. He quotes hundreds of her words to illustrate her wonderful writing. Johns reveals how Morris worried constantly about her style of writing particularly her frequent use of metaphors and words like mooched. She was especially concerned about using the exclamation mark.
Johns says Morris was also a fine journalist. In 1953, Morris was the first to report that Hillary had climbed Everest. This made Morris into a celebrity overnight. She (he) was only 26. On the other hand, Johns reminds us that Morris' reports on, for example, apartheid were controversial.
Morris served in the army, leaving in 1953. The military life always appealed, particularly the courage, discipline and loyalty. Johns gives clues about Jan's psychological problems. For example, he says he has detected signs of torment that have been hidden in various ways but 'never entirely resolved'. On a number of occasions in the book you get the feeling that the author deliberately restrains from examing Jan's torment.
An interesting read that leaves you wanting much more.
She is generally described as a travel writer but that rather misses the point, too. She doesn’t write about travel, but about destinations. The only book of hers that I had read was her 1975 novel, Last letters from Hav, which made it onto that year’s Booker Prize shortlist. It is a marvellous description of a fictional city state situated somewhere on the Turkish peninsula. Nothing much happens in the novel, but it holds the reader’s attention through its marvellous depiction of city life, across all social strata.
Derek Johns is clearly a close friend of Morris, and an adherent of her writing. He does not, however, allow that to push him beyond biography into hagiography. He shows a cheerful frankness about some of her less morally unassailable deeds (nothing heinous, I hasten to add).
Morris’s writing bristles with its own enthusiasms. Perhaps one of the most widely travelled of journalists, she has probably written about more of the world’s significant cities than anyone else, and she has developed a delightful knack of capturing the salient atmosphere in a few simple sentences.
Johns himself is similarly adept, and writes informatively and engagingly. I picked this up in my local bookshop by chance, and it proved a serendipitous choice.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews