Winner of the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, Silver PEN Award, 1987.The acclaimed travel writer's youthful journey - as an 18-year-old - across 1930s Europe....
The long-awaited guide to writing long-form nonfiction by the legendary author and teacher....
Words of Mercury collects pieces from every stage of Leigh Fermor's life, from his journey through Eastern Europe just before the outbreak of the Second World War....
In this extraordinary work of narrative reportage, Kapka Kassabova returns to Bulgaria to explore the border it shares with Turkey and Greece....
Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place....
A political thriller that unfolds in the highly charged territory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and pivots on the complex relationship between a secret prisoner and his guard....
Leonardo da Vinci created the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and engineering....
Stefan Zweig's memoir, The World of Yesterday, recalls the golden age of prewar Europe - its seeming permanence, its promise and its devastating fall with the onset of two world wars....
A deeply moving tale of a father and son's transformative journey in reading - and reliving - Homer's epic masterpiece....
Intense, brilliant and moving, The Door is a compelling story about the relationship between two women of opposing backgrounds and personalities....
After running an ultramarathon through the Copper Canyons of Mexico, Christopher McDougall finds his next great adventure on the razor-sharp mountains of Crete....
From the acclaimed author of The Wild Places comes an engrossing exploration of walking and thinking....
The spectacular first novel from acclaimed nonfiction author Francis Spufford follows the adventures of a mysterious young man in mid-18th century Manhattan, 30 years before the American Revolution....
An endlessly entertaining portrait of the city of Amsterdam and the ideas that make it unique, by the author of the acclaimed Island at the Center of the World....
Putin's best-selling biographer reveals how, in the space of a generation, Russia surrendered to a more virulent and invincible new strain of autocracy....
Paris, 1933: Three contemporaries meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse - Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and longtime friend Raymond Aron....
It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures, and religions....
"I have been acquainted with the smell of death." So begins Clytemnestra's tale of her own life in ancient Mycenae, the legendary Greek city....
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 listener with him as far as Hungary.
It is a book of compelling glimpses - not only of the events that 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.
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
I love this remarkable book so much, but I am having trouble listening to this plummy and affected reading of it. Listen to the sample carefully before buying--make sure you're OK with this style of delivery!
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Crispin Redman?
I don't know. Someone who just .... reads.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Not sure I got much out of the book. I guess I was looking for more information about the area at hand. The way the narrator spoke was enjoyable to listen to. No one I know speaks like that. Probably for good reason.
It is a great story, very well written, probably the author took time in polishing the text, but even so it sounds extremely joyous in telling us his adventures and misadventures in a very lively, colorful and precise description of the places and people he encounters. The only shortcoming that we have in this audiobook is the pronunciation of the non English parts, quite atrocious, but understandable since there are very few narrators, if there is one, that has the range of language knowledge that this book requires.
I wish it weren't so, but I have to say I was mildly disappointed by the book. Part of the problem has to do with the audio narrator's somewhat dramatically effete-sounding style, although he seems to pronounce German phrases (which pop up regularly) like a native. Regarding the text itself, there seemed to be a fair amount of digression at the beginning, detracting from the travel narrative aspect. Moreover, he just seems too comfortable as long as there are English/German speakers at hand, moving from one host to another by word-of-mouth in Germany and Austria. Czechoslovakia seemed a transition zone (remember, Kafka wrote in German not Czech). So, I'm optimistic that the remainder of the trip covered by the sequel will be more adventurous, shall we say.
I was struck that he's hitting eastern Europe during their brief period of inter-war democracy, no empires, no communists. Still, every time he mentions Jews or Gypsies, I cringe knowing what's soon to follow.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
yes, fascinating journey beautifully described
What did you like best about this story?
The picture of 1930s Europe
Which scene did you most enjoy?
The time in Vienna
Any additional comments?
A really good read
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book written by Patrick Leigh Fermor or narrated by Crispin Redman?
I am tempted to read the sequel rather than listen to the audio, which I found rather rushed.
What did you like best about this story?
The feeling of landscape and the times of the period between the wars. People's values and way of life are very well captured.
What three words best describe Crispin Redman’s performance?
Sounds like JustAMinute. It felt like he was racing not to hesitate, deviate from the subject or otherwise be caught out by Nicholas Parsons. I suppose there are a lot of words to read, but I found the delivery tiring after a while.
Was A Time of Gifts worth the listening time?
Yes I did enjoy it, but I am not sure about Listening to the sequel.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
I found this a rather strange book. I am glad that I listened to it, yet I am also rather ambivalent about its faithfulness. My reason is that the author, an upper-class, precocious and scholarly youth, walked across Europe in the early 1930’s as an 18yr old, but does not seem to have written up his account until 1977, when he would have been in his 60’s. Taken as a whole, I found it an impressive piece of writing, although there were times when I thought it was pretentious and prolix. However, if you immerse yourself in the world that Leigh Fermor invokes, and listen to the poetic and sometimes fantastical quality of his prose, and take it as an ‘out of the box’ reading experience, then I think you will have to give credit to the intellect that conjured it up. It may be uncharitable, but I suspect it was mainly written to satisfy the authors ego and to relive memories of youth. As I said, I am really glad to have listened to it, but I shall not be re-reading it, or choosing this author again. Too harsh perhaps.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful
I found that once I had got past the initial cynicism that invariably occurs everytime I read memoirs by people who seem able to recall every single detail of events that occurred ages ago and stopped wondering how they could have remembered it all (particularly with diaries being lost, copious quantities of drink consumed, etc.!) and simply concentrated on the story he was telling, this made a wonderful account of events that could, and possibly did, more-or-less take place in an era that is now, quite literally, history. Basically, it helped to adopt the journalistic maxim of not letting the facts get in the way of a good story.
As someone whom my art historian friend would quite rightly describe as a 'complete intellectual peasant' I did find the lengthy musings on schools of painting, architectural styles and linguistic derivations as rather irritating 'fillers' that interrupted an otherwise great, and frequently funny, story and found the idea of an 18-year fixating on whether or not Shakespeare's reference to 'the coast of Bohemia' was geographically and historically accurate somewhat bizarre - didn't he have other things to worry about? - but these were minor 'bumps in the road' compared to the overall enjoyment I derived. In fact, approaching the end of this book it was an easy decision to buy the next two books in the trilogy.
Much of the credit for my enjoyment must go to the wonderful narration of Crispin Redman - I only wish I could give him 10 stars instead of 5. What an absolutely wonderful case he makes for audible books. If there is some way by which my appreciation of his performance could be passed-on I would be delighted.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Capturing the time and the place wonderfully.
Patrick Leigh Fermor deserves his reputation as a travel writer of note.
I will definitely be reading the other two volumes of his travels.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I love this book but found the audio version seriously spoilt by the narrator. For a book largely set in German-speaking countries, & with many snippets of German, amongst other languages in the text, someone able to pronounce the language properly would have been a better choice; some of Crispin Redman's attempts are virtually unintelligible. Also his atrocious 'Allo-'Allo style cod-German accent when rendering quotes from German-speaking protagonists is rather wearing after a while.
Read it 20 years ago recommended by a G P friend Patrick. It helped in my recovery because inrigued me and made me concentrate and listen. Delightful reference s and allusions. I shall listen to it and its sequel again and again to absorb its richness and poetry. Thank for the reading, rarely misspoken and full of enthusiasm.
I first read the first two volumes shortly after they were published and I thought it would be enjoyable to listen to these again before listening to The Broken Road. I wish I had just bought the third volume and read it.
This is a book, not a play. I am possibly in a minority but in an audiobook I want the book to be read, not acted. Crispin Redman reads as if this were a soliloquy, giving almost every word an exaggerated emphasis. This, and the high-speed delivery of someone who seems over exited and wants to blurt out the story in the shortest time, is very quickly tiring to me.
I would prefer a measured, relaxed reading. The words and one's imagination are all that is required.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed this very much though the numerous branchings into history, literature, art and culture were sometimes difficult to place in context. On this level there would have been an advantage in having the text in front of me so I could reference details more readily.
The writing is excellent and the narration fine, and the story brings home a style of travel -- an admirable self-sufficiency aided by Fate and strangers -- that is perhaps much harder to consider in this century.
Any additional comments?
Wonderful travelogue of a pre-war Europe. Another reviewer has noted the tendency of PLF to break off into discursions on abstruse subjects from time to time; unlike that reviewer, I wholly enjoyed these trips into history, art, architecture and what feels like a hundred other subjects. It seems hard to credit that a 19 year-old could be quite so well versed in classics, history and dozens of other topics as PLF was, particularly given his school record, but perhaps I'm being too quick to judge by modern standards. Crispin Redman is the perfect narrator, catching the character of the man without alienating him from us, which would have been easy to do, and acts, rather than reads, the book.<br/><br/>Finished this afternoon and the next volume is already downloaded ready for tomorrow. i can't wait.