Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Appreciating Eric Newby

Sam Jordison has posted an appreciation of the travel writer Eric Newby on today's Guardian books blog. It opens:

"We were captured off the east coast of Sicily on the morning of the 12th of August, 1942, about four miles out in the Bay of Catania. It was a beautiful morning. As the sun rose, I could see Etna, a truncated cone with a plume of smoke over it like the quill of a pen stuck in a pewter inkpot, rising out of the haze to the north of where I was treading water."

That's the first paragraph of Eric Newby's Love And War In The Apennines and, as I'm sure you don't need me to tell you, it's a corker. The way he plunges you into the water with him after that lovely lyrical description of Mount Etna is just magic. If I hadn't been holding the book (as well as a cup of tea) the first time I read it, I'd have punched the air for joy.

Perhaps an over-the-top reaction, but I was feeling sentimental.... [read on]

Jordison's essay caught my eye because, entirely coincidentally, I'd just posted an item at Writers Read by essayist Sam Pickering in which he mentions Newby and a couple of his peers.

Read Pickering's account of what he has been reading and learn more about his forthcoming book, Edinburgh Days, or Doing What I Want to Do.

--Marshal Zeringue