The Broken Road
Devotees of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s books about his 1933-34 walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople waited for decades for a concluding volume. At last, three years after Fermor’s death in June 2011, it’s here.
Once again readers can delight in Fermor’s love of language (read it with a dictionary at hand; words like astrakhan, spondee, logothete, and plangency pop up with abandon). Again the palpable joy of being 19 years old, healthy, smart, attractive, and on the road burst from his pages. Readers can again share his unique travel mode: nights in caravansaries around gypsy campfires alternating with plush accommodations with the British Consul in Sofia. Here, once again, we see how exotic Central and Eastern Europe were in those years before World War II’s destruction and the communist aftermath.
Fermor brings history, observation, landscape, and languages together like no other. His biographer, Artemis Cooper, and his friend, Colin Thubron (novelist and travel writer), edited this book after Fermor passed away. Like Fermor’s other smitten fans, I’m thankful. Recommended – although readers should begin with the first two books, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water, about the journey.