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Under the Sun: The Letters of Bruce Chatwin Hardcover – February 17, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition (1 in number line) edition (February 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670022462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670022465
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,841,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Celebrated English travel writer and novelist Chatwin (In Patagonia) died of AIDS 20 years ago; he was only 48. His letters—from such far-flung locales as Sweden, Afghanistan, his beloved Greece, Turkey, Africa, and, of course, Patagonia—are lovingly compiled and thoroughly annotated, with indispensable narrative (explaining, for instance, Chatwin™s sudden conversion to Eastern Christianity) by Chatwin™s widow and his biographer. Given to impulsive life and career changes, Chatwin discusses the full range of life from the mundane to the spiritual, from his writing to his dislike of his own œpretty boy looks. He charmed or intimately knew such cultural movers and shakers as Christopher Isherwood, Susan Sontag, Jasper Johns, Edmund White, and many others. There were at least two serious long-term relationships with men (one with filmmaker James Ivory). Yet the Chatwins remained married and always intellectual partners; toward the end of his life, Chatwin writes, despite marital difficulties, œneither of us have loved anyone else. (Feb. 7)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* This compilation of correspondence is aptly titled. British travel writer and novelist Chatwin traveled widely, constantly, and obsessively—everywhere under the sun, in other words. He possessed a restless soul, to be sure. And to a large degree, he was secretive; information about his homosexuality and his affliction with the AIDS virus was closely guarded. He cast a personal spell with his charm and a lasting one through his works, which are so imaginative they are pure excitement to read; at the same time, however, it can be confusing to determine whether to see them as fiction or nonfiction. Nevertheless, beginning with his first published book, In Patagonia (1977), Chatwin maintained a reputation among discerning readers for his riveting characters—invented or not is unimportant, even in his travel books—and his rigorously precise writing style. Chatwin’s wife and his biographer (Bruce Chatwin, 2000) combined efforts over a two-decade period to retrieve more than 90 percent of Chatwin’s correspondence from childhood to immediately before his untimely death at 48. Chatwin’s many appreciators will see the compilation in its overall significance as a personal visit with one of their literary heroes, as much as that is possible now. --Brad Hooper

More About the Author

Bruce Chatwin reinvented British travel writing with his first book, In Patagonia, and followed it with many travel books and novels, each unique and extraordinary. He died in 1989.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Jaime Axel Ruiz on February 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Considering all the fascinating books writte by Chatwin, this is a complementary reading for his fans, but it does not present anything very new or very relevant. Interesting but not necessary.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Strider4 on February 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had read most of Chatwin's books. The best are utterly poetic and mesmerizing, i.e., "Songlines" and "In Patagonia." The writer however revealed very little of himself. This (probably) final posthumous collection of letters by his wife fills in the details of Chatwin's life, from school days onward to his death from AIDS and gives an interesting picture of what he was like in a microscopic yet indirect way.

He comes off on a personal level as being not very likeable, snobbish, and opinionated, sometimes quite shallow. A lot of his energy revolved around dealing in antiquities, which he loved and had great knowedge about. Yet in the end he seems petty, often foolish, and I felt I was done with Bruce Chatwin, finally. And oh, his cloaked life as a closet case continued to the very end. What was the point of that?
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9 of 21 people found the following review helpful By The Muse's Apprentice on February 17, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I learned of Bruce Chatwin's death while staying in a guest house in Indonesia, on my way, slowly, through Indonesia, Bali, Singapore and India, and ultimately Pakistan. I was carrying The Songlines at the time.
I have only begun the Kindle Edition (and have the book on order as well) but all I can say is that it's been too long. Too long between words from Chatwin. I've read them all, all of him, and am still left (and will remain so) half a sip short of my thirst for him being quenched. This book will help.
All I can say is that Chatwin is very much for me as India is: it is, he is, everything that everyone has written about him. His life, as Nicholas Shakespeare's wonderful biography has shown, is equally as fascinating as the places he wrote about. As I also say about India (and the same, again, echoes my feelings for Bruce Chatwin): you may love it, you may hate it, but you will never be the same for having gone.
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1 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Paul R. Harris on April 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
writing takes too much time. I like the book. It meets all expections. I see no benefit for me. Consider making it an option
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