Continuing the journey on foot across Europe begun in A Time of Gifts Between the Woods and the Water begins where its predecessor, A Time of Gifts, leaves off—in 1934, with the nineteen-year-old Patrick Leigh Fermor standing on a bridge crossing the Danube between Hungary and Slovakia. A trip downriver to Budapest follows, along with passage on horseback across the Great Hungarian Plain, and a crossing of the Romanian border into ...
Continuing the journey on foot across Europe begun in A Time of Gifts
Between the Woods and the Water begins where its predecessor, A Time of Gifts, leaves off—in 1934, with the nineteen-year-old Patrick Leigh Fermor standing on a bridge crossing the Danube between Hungary and Slovakia. A trip downriver to Budapest follows, along with passage on horseback across the Great Hungarian Plain, and a crossing of the Romanian border into Transylvania. Remote castles, villages, monasteries, and mountains that are the haunts of bears, wolves, eagles, gypsies, and sundry religious sects are all savored in the approach to the Iron Gates, on the border of Yugoslavia and Romania. This ruggedly beautiful and historic stretch of the Danube has since been lost beneath the waters of an immense hydroelectric power plant—as indeed so much of the old Europe that Leigh Fermor’s pages so vividly evoke was soon to be destroyed in World War II.
Patrick Leigh Fermor is a writer of inexhaustible charm, learning, and verbal resource who possesses a breathtaking ability to sketch a landscape, limn a portrait, and bring the past to life. Between the Woods and the Water, part of an extraordinary work in progress that has already been acclaimed as a classic of English literature, is a triumph of his art. For this tale of youthful adventure is at the same time an exploration of the dream and reality of Europe, a book of wanderings that wends its way in and out of history and natural history, art and literature, with the tireless curiosity—and winning fecklessness—of its young protagonist, even as it opens haunting vistas into time and space.
Patrick Leigh Fermor was born in 1915 of English and Irish descent. After his stormy schooldays, followed by the walk across Europe to Constantinople that begins in A Time of Gifts (1977) and continues through Between the Woods and the Water (1986), he lived and traveled in the Balkans and the Greek Archipelago. His books Mani (1958) and Roumeli (1966) attest to his deep interest in languages and remote places. In the Second World War he joined the Irish Guards, became a liaison officer in Albania, and fought in Greece and Crete. He was awarded the DSO and OBE. He now lives partly in Greece in the house he designed with his wife Joan in an olive grove in the Mani, and partly in Worcestershire. He was knighted in 2004 for his services to literature and to British–Greek relations.
Jan Morris was born in 1926, is Anglo-Welsh, and lives in Wales. She has written some forty books, including the Pax Britannica trilogy about the British Empire, studies of Wales, Spain, Venice, Oxford, Manhattan, Sydney, Hong Kong, and Trieste, six volumes of collected travel essays, two memoirs, two capricious biographies, and a couple of novels—but she defines her entire oeuvre as “disguised autobiography.” She is an honorary D.Litt. of the University of Wales and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.