Under the Sun: The Letters of Bruce Chatwin

Under the Sun: The Letters of Bruce Chatwin

Hardback

By (author) Bruce Chatwin, By (author) Elizabeth Chatwin, By (author) Nicholas Shakespeare, Edited by Nicholas Shakespeare, Edited by Elizabeth Chatwin

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  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 560 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 234mm x 46mm | 921g
  • Publication date: 2 May 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0224089897
  • ISBN 13: 9780224089890
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations, ports.
  • Sales rank: 172,371

Product description

'I am most certainly in the mood for writing letters'. Bruce Chatwin is one of the most significant British novelists and travel writers of our time. His books have become modern-day classics which defy categorisation, assimilating elements of fiction, essay, reportage, history and gossip, inspired by and reflecting his incredible journeys. Tragically, Chatwin's compelling narrative voice was cut off just as he had found it. One month before his death he lamented, 'There are so many things I want to do.' 'Bruce had just begun' said his friend, Salman Rushdie, 'we saw only the first act'. While we shall never know the surprise of his unwritten works, Chatwin left behind a body of writing that is striking for its freshness; an authentic conduit which allows us to return to him and to be rewarded: a wealth of letters and postcards that he wrote, from his first week at school until shortly before his death at the age of forty-eight. Whether typed on Sotheby's notepaper or hastily scribbled, Chatwin's correspondence reveals more about himself than he was prepared to expose in his books; his health and finances, his literary ambitions and tastes, his uneasiness about his sexual orientation; above all, his lifelong quest for where to live. Written with the verve and sharpness of expression that first marked him out as a writer, Chatwin's letters gives a vivid synopsis of his changing interests and concerns throughout his life. Careful and considered in drafting his published work, the letters are Chatwin's only unedited writing, and a paean to a disappearing mode of communication: tangible proof of a life as it was lived, and possibly one of the last great collections of a writer's letters. Comprising material collected over two decades from hundreds of contacts across five continents, Under the Sun is a valuable and illuminating record of one of the greatest and most enigmatic writers of the twentieth century.

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Author information

Bruce Chatwin reinvented British travel writing with his first book, In Patagonia, and followed it with four other books, each unique and extraordinary. He died in 1989. Elizabeth Chatwin was born in the U.S.A. She came to London in 1961 to work at Sotheby's, where she met Bruce Chatwin.They married in 1965. She now keeps Black Welsh Mountain Sheep. Nicholas Shakespeare was born in Worcester in 1957 and grew up in the Far East and Latin America. He is the author of The Vision of the Elena Silves, winner of the Somerset Maugham and Betty Trask awards, The High Flyer, for which he was nominated as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists, The Dancer Upstairs, and most recently, Inheritance. His non-fiction includes In Tasmania, winner of the 2007 Tasmania Book Prize, and an acclaimed biography of Bruce Chatwin.

Review quote

"It seems that Chatwin is narrating his own life, from the false starts, unsatisfying jobs, unfinished studies and unpublished writing to the precipitate moves, the eruptions of boredom and the infatuations with people, with places, with ideas. These letters burst with affectionate salutations, explosions of rage, sudden enthusiasm." -- Paul Theroux, "Daily Telegraph ""A masterpiece of sympathetic and diligent editing, absolutely fascinating and larded with acerbic comments from Nicholas Shakespeare's joint editor, Elizabeth Chatwin.""-- Spectator ""As Under the Sun poignantly reveals, when he died Chatwin's extravagant writing gifts were gelling into a wider and deeper understanding of the human condition and the world we inhabit." "-- Sunday Express" "From the Trade Paperback edition."