Author(s): Patrick Leigh Fermor
"In the winter of 1933 eighteen-year-old Patrick ("Paddy") Leigh Fermor set out to walk across Europe, starting in Holland and ending in Constantinople, a trip that took him the better part of a year. Decades later, when he was well over fifty, Leigh Fermor told the story of that life-changing journey in A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water, two works now celebrated as among the most vivid, absorbing, delightful, and beautifully-written travel books of all time. The Broken Road is the long and avidly awaited account of the final leg of his youthful adventure that Leigh Fermor promised but was unable to finish before his death in 2011. Assembled from Leigh Fermor's manuscripts by his prize-winning biographer Artemis Cooper and the travel writer Colin Thubron, this is perhaps the most personal of all Leigh Fermor's books, catching up with young Paddy in the fall of 1934 and following him through Bulgaria and Romania to the coast of the Black Sea. Days and nights on the road, spectacular landscapes and uncanny cities, friendships lost and found, leading the high life in Bucharest or camping out with fishermen and shepherds: in the The Broken Road such incidents and escapades are described with all the linguistic bravura, odd and astonishing learning, and overflowing exuberance that Leigh Fermor is famous for, but also with a melancholy awareness of the passage of time, especially when he meditates on the scarred history of the Balkans or on his troubled relations with his father. The book ends, perfectly, with Paddy's diary from the winter of 1934, when he had reached Greece, the country he would fall in love with and fight for. Across the space of three quarters of century we can still hear the ringing voice of an irrepressible young man embarking on a life of adventure"--
The long-awaited final volume of the trilogy by Patrick Leigh Fermor - hailed as the greatest travel writer of his generation.
Short-listed for Dolman Travel Prize 2014 (UK) and IBW Book Award 2014 (UK).
Nobody could do the job better than the book's editors. Colin Thubron is a travel writer of Leigh Fermor's calibre, Artemis Cooper is his masterly biographer ... It contains wonderful passages of purest Leigh Fermor ... Time and again he gives us vivid glimpses of encounters along the way - priests and peasants, the squalors of the back country, high life in Bucharest - and this virtuoso display is embedded as always in his astonishing range of learning ... full of fun, kindness, easy learning, sophistication and innocence ... a gently fitting conclusion to his tumultuous masterpiece -- Jan Morris Mail on Sunday This is a major work. It confirms that Leigh Fermor was, along with Robert Byron, the greatest travel writer of his generation, and this final volume assures the place of the trilogy as one of the masterpieces of the genre, indeed one of the masterworks of post-war English non-fiction -- William Dalrymple Guardian Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper have put this book to bed with skill and sensitivity ... Friends and fans, acolytes, devotees and disciples can all rest easy. It was worth the wait -- Justin Marozzi Spectator The editors have done a fine job Literary Review It is magnificent. Cooper and Thubron have done an immense service in bringing the book to publication, for it unmistakably stands comparison with its remarkable siblings. The prose has the glorious turbulence and boil of the first two books, and the youthful magic of his 'dream-odyssey' is still potent Robert MacFarlane, The Times A fitting conclusion to his masterpiece ... This book is momentous Mail on Sunday The pages are filled with brilliant evocations of his life on the road, none richer than the time he spent in a Romanian broth ... It is a fitting epilogue to 20th-century travel-writing and essential reading for devotees of Sir Patrick's other works The Economist I set off along The Broken Road laden with expectations that I would have to make allowances. Yet almost from the off, I realised that I would have no use for these. Here was a wealth of descriptions that only Leigh Fermor could have conjured up ... In a stroke of brilliance, Thubron and Cooper have included the separate diary that Leigh Fermor kept of the month he spent exploring Mount Athos in Greece immediately after leaving Istanbul. So, the Athos diary, aglow with rich experience, finally brings the journey to its rightful end in the spiritual heart of the country that was to prove, though the young author did not yet know it, Leigh Fermor's "real love and destination" New Statesman This is a picaresque essay, a virtuoso tapestry of anecdote in the author's best tradition Country Life The first two volumes were a joy to read, not least for Leigh Fermor's ability to recapture in later life the intense excitement of being a young man lighting out. The latest book offers similar joys ... Also evident are another of the joys of the earlier books - the pyrotechnics of his writing. Exuberance is expressed in heightened suggestions ... it captures the joy of the open road, the fresh view he gives of Europe as it began to show the stresses that led to world war, and the glimpses of a long-lost life and innocence Observer The Mount Athos diary - untampered with by his older self - reminds us what an extraordinary young man he was ... This early style is more immediate, more youthful; a pleasure to read in a wholly different way from the later magnificence Financial Times A road trip that is as illuminating as it is incomplete made by a traveller, warrior and jewelled stylist Independent There is plenty to enjoy, so much so that the reader often forgets to wonder how much is true, and how much the revisionist work of an inventive and poetic mind ... the pleasure lies in its combination of erudition, exuberant speculation, lively anecdote and meticulous, picture-painting language ... Gorgeous imagery, granted, yet it is in Leigh Fermor's disarming cameos that The Broken Road excels Sunday Times His literary executors have topped, tailed and polished with such sympathy and skill that their interventions cannot be detected. This is pure Paddy: these are his feelings, perceptions and responses, his the observations, his the descriptions, consummate in a phrase, acute and intense when extended to paragraph or page; this is his style yet it is in many ways a youthful text, its core the adventure of a very young man, its embellishments the experience, curiosity and wisdom of his older self Evening Standard What a poignant and somehow fitting finale for a legendary procrastinator. It was certainly worth the wait National This final leg, through Romania and Bulgaria rounds off a classic trilogy i For readers of the other two books, to see the odyssey at last (almost) concluded, will naturally be irresistible. For everyone else there is the discovery of a unique writer Sunday Express The final volume confirms the trilogy as one of the 'masterpieces' of English travel writing Week A scintillating continuation of the prodigious walk that took the young Leigh Fermor right into the heart of magically different pre-war Europe and beyond ... his journey is complete, his world task accomplished, with the whole undertaking as thick in marvels as Aladdin's cave Irish Times The perfect present for anyone with wanderlust Good Housekeeping The third unfinished volume of Leigh Fermor's enchanted journey through Mitteleuropa is here at last TLS Books of the Year Glorious ... Artemis Cooper and Colin Thubron created THE BROKEN ROAD from a rejected essay on walking (15 times the size requested of Paddy), some failed drafts and a pair of flimsy travel journals. But the author is arguably more present in their loving editorial hands ... than in any of his other books. There is also that infectious enthusiasm for the road and the lived experience, for spoken language, oral knowledge and for everything Byzantine and Greek Daily Telegraph, Best Books of the Year His epic journey's erudite conclusion will not disappoint his many fans Saga Offers a fascinating glimpse of a lost time and talent Financial Times, Books of the Year My favourite book this year was the final, unfinished and posthumous volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's walking trilogy ... it is every bit as masterly as Between the Woods and the Water Observer, Books of the Year Glorious ... Artemis Cooper and Colin Thubron created The Broken Road ... but the author is arguably more present in their loving editorial hands ... than in any of his other books. There is also that infectious enthusiasm for the road and the lived experience, for spoken language, oral knowledge and for everything Byzantine and Greek Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year Offers a fascinating glimpse of a lost time and talent Financial Times, Books of the Year
Following his walk across Europe, Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) lived and travelled in the Balkans and Greek Archipelago. He joined the Irish Guards and during the occupation of Crete led the party that captured the German commander. He was awarded the DSO and OBE.