Monday, January 15, 2007

The greatest travel book ever written?

Over at the Guardian's books blog Anna Beer makes a case for Rebecca West's Black Lamb and Grey Falcon as the greatest travel book ever written:
I am rereading Rebecca West's Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: a Journey through Yugoslavia. Despite being only up to Macedonia and page 688 (of 1150), I do not want it to end. West may be absolutely of her time (the book was published in 1942, and is a desperate cry for liberal, humanist values at a time when those values were being annihilated), and Black Lamb may be an unashamed love song to the Slav peoples, and in particular the Serbs, but West and her writing are never trapped in the past, never merely partisan.

I must admit that I am sometimes appalled by West's assumptions (about homosexuality, for example), or her apparently simplistic judgements on whole nations or religions: Germans are bad, Serbs are good; Roman Catholicism is bad, the Orthodox Church is good. Yet....[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue