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Paperback New York Review Books Classics

By (author) Jan Morris, Introduction by Ursula LeGuin

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  • Publisher: New York Review of Books Classics
  • Format: Paperback | 301 pages
  • Dimensions: 127mm x 201mm x 18mm | 295g
  • Publication date: 30 August 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1590174496
  • ISBN 13: 9781590174494
  • Sales rank: 429,194

Product description

A New York Review Books Original Hav is like no place on earth. Rumored to be the site of Troy, captured during the crusades and recaptured by Saladin, visited by Tolstoy, Hitler, Grace Kelly, and Princess Diana, this Mediterranean city-state is home to several architectural marvels and an annual rooftop race that is a feat of athleticism and insanity. As Jan Morris guides us through the corridors and quarters of Hav, we hear the mingling of Italian, Russian, and Arabic in its markets, delight in its famous snow raspberries, and meet the denizens of its casinos and cafes. When Morris published" Last Letters from Hav "in 1985, it was short-listed for the Booker Prize. Here it is joined by "Hav of the Myrmidons," a sequel that brings the story up-to-date. Twenty-first-century Hav is nearly unrecognizable. Sanitized and monetized, it is ruled by a group of fanatics who have rewritten its history to reflect their own blinkered view of the past. Morris's only novel is dazzlingly sui-generis, part erudite travel memoir, part speculative fiction, part cautionary political tale. It transports the reader to an extraordinary place that never was, but could well be.

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Author information

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 British Empire. Her memoir Conundrum is available as a New York Review Book Classic. Ursula K. Le Guin has published twenty-one novels as well as volumes of short stories, poems, essays, and works for children. Among her novels are The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, both winners of the nebula and Hugo awards.

Review quote

"After reading "Last Letters from Hav," what travel writer would ever want to report from an actual place? . . . a vigorous literary hybrid; elegant fiction in its own right but also a respectfully witty homage to indomitable English travel writers like Lawrence, Burton and Blanch." --Elaine Kendall, " Los Angeles Times" "A touching love-letter, not to an Invisible City but to life itself. Morris has penned a fable about an imaginary abroad to teach us about the here and now." --Peter J. Conradi, "The Independent" "Jan Morris has marshaled reportorial insight and literary flair to describe nearly every interesting place on the planet. Unique among them is Hav, which she revisits in her latest, perhaps most insightful book yet." --Donald Morrison, "Time ""Taken for the real thing on its first publication in 1985, this faux-travel memoir prompted fruitless calls to confused travel agents. It's no wonder: Morris's imagination is a marvel, her spectral co