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Words of Mercury Hardcover – 13 Oct 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; First Edition, First Impression edition (13 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719561051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719561054
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,031,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Inspirational, insatiable, worldly and utterly divine, these works will leave us all thirsting for more (The Good Book Guide)

Words of Mercury is an admirable palliative for those who can stand the strain no longer. A selection of Leigh Fermor's writings, it serves three purposes to good effect: it contains enough unfamiliar material to satisfy old hands, it will remind the forgetful or the unconverted just how good a writer he is, and it should serve as the perfect introduction to novice readers ... An introduction to a writer whose mastery of English prose has only been matched, in my lifetime, by Evelyn Waugh and Hugh Trevor-Roper, this could hardly be better ... the gems in the collection are pieces not previously available in book form (Jeremy Lewis, LITERARY REVIEW)

collection of outstanding writings ... an overview of a magnificent career (The Good Book Guide)

What is charm? In Leigh Fermor's case it is an infinite curiosity about other people. He treats Bulgarian peasants and English dukes exactly alike ... Paddy Leigh Fermor has lived one of the great picaresque lives on the 20th century. Yet his achievement is to be what he is - even more than what he has done. This collection beautifully illustrates both ... Paddy draws the reader, like his huge acquaintance, into instant intimacy. Paddy Leigh Fermor - war hero, linguist, adventurer - is at heart a great storyteller (Max Hastings, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

There is a pleasure to be had on every page ... Here is a writer who can find something fascinating in the dullest characters and the most drab towns. He is a master stylist, too, revelling in the possibilities of language, striving always to be exact. Few travel writers can create atmosphere quite as thickly, but then few have such extraordinary anecdotes to tell ... [the anthology] serves as a reminder that Leigh Fermor is one of the greatest travel writers of all time (Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times)

The perfect anthology should turn us into gluttons and should also include unexpected delicacies. This books fulfils both requirements but also a third, more difficult one: it present a complete portrait of the author. The compiler, Artemis Cooper, writes an introduction which is a model of informative brevity, but also succeeds in capturing the essence of Patrick Leigh Fermor - the man as well as the literary oeuvre ... Leigh Fermor is a generous writer. There is not a dull character in the vast gallery in these pages where barons, bandits and beggars abound, where scholars and poets are colourful and ladies are beautiful (Santiago Tamarón, The Spectator)


'The finest travel writer of his generation'

(Colin Thubron)

'The greatest of living travel writers' Jan Morris

Patrick Leigh Fermor is an exquisite among travel writers (Sunday Telegraph)

He makes exotic and entertaining friends wherever he goes, has read everything, been everywhere and writes like a dream (The Times)

Wonderful collection of extracts from a lifetime's writings (Times Literary Supplement)

[Leigh Fermor's] 'extraordinary character and combination of intelligence and compassion' (Times Literary Supplement)

A beguiling combination of wisdom and wildness, maturity and freshness (Times Literary Supplement)

Leigh Fermor ... is the best sort of British traveller ... He combines the resourcefulness and daring of Odysseus with the learning, culture and glamour of a latter-day Byron (Times Literary Supplement)

A collection of extraordinary anecdotes that are full of atmosphere and incidents, which reveal Leigh Fermor to be a congenial, cultured traveller of the highest order (Global)

His infectious enthusiasm, insatiable curiosity and open approach make the book a pleasure to read. Fermor is a master stylist who conveys delight readily and insight easily, making him the leading exponent of the travelwriting genre. (Global)

Vivid recollections of a way of life which vanished with that war [Second World War] (The Independent)

His gift is that he sees everything (The Independent)

That Leigh Fermor writes beautifully can be taken for granted. (The Independent)

His writing seeks to shine a fierce light on the places and peoples he visits (The Independent)

He became embedded in the societies that he writes about with such captivating panache (The Independent)

Leigh Fermor's work is that of a heartfelt wanderer truly involved in mankind (Geographical Magazine)

Keen judgement, a fine eye for detail and a truly prodigious memory (Geographical Magazine)

Book Description

A collection of the most delightful and evocative pieces from books, journalism and letters by Patrick Leigh Fermor

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 18 November 2003
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on 12 December 2013
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on 3 November 2004
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