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Book Title: What Am I Doing Here|
ISBN 13: 9780330313100
The author of the book: Bruce Chatwin
Date of issue: November 5th 1990
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.60 MB
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Reader ratings: 5.6
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The author of one of my favorite short novels, Bruce Chatwin here demonstrates his story-telling ability amidst the realities of travel and the vast world of his extended friendships and acquaintances. As an example the following is from “Mrs. Mandelstam,” Chatwin’s account of his visit with the widow of the Russian poet, Osip Mandelstam, collected in What Am I Doing Here?, the last book he published before he died:
"White metal fastenings glittered among the brown stumps of her teeth. A cigarette stuck to her lower lip. Her nose was a weapon. You knew for certain she was one of the most powerful women in the world, and knew she knew it…. She waved me to a chair and, as she waved, one of her breasts tumbled out of her nightie. "Tell me," she shoved it back, "are there any grand poets left in your country?"
The joy of reading his prose is surpassed only by the delight in knowing that opening the book to any page you will be engrossed by the words upon the page. A reader's delight that persuades you with its charm that you should return to one of his other books as soon as possible.
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Read information about the authorCharles Bruce Chatwin was an English novelist and travel writer. He won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel On the Black Hill (1982). In 1972, Chatwin interviewed the 93-year-old architect and designer Eileen Gray in her Paris salon, where he noticed a map of the area of South America called Patagonia, which she had painted. "I've always wanted to go there," Bruce told her. "So have I," she replied, "go there for me." Two years later in November 1974, Chatwin flew out to Lima in Peru, and reached Patagonia a month later. When he arrived, he left the newspaper with a telegram: "Have gone to Patagonia." He spent six months in the area, a trip which resulted in the book In Patagonia (1977). This work established his reputation as a travel writer. Later, however, residents in the region contradicted the account of events depicted in Chatwin's book. It was the first time in his career, but not the last, that conversations and characters which Chatwin presented as fact were alleged to have been fictionalised. Later works included a novel based on the slave trade, The Viceroy of Ouidah, which he researched with extended stays in Benin, West Africa. For The Songlines (1987), a work combining fiction and non-fiction, Chatwin went to Australia. He studied the culture to express how the songs of the Aborigines are a cross between a creation myth, an atlas and an Aboriginal man's personal story. He also related the travelling expressed in The Songlines to his own travels and the long nomadic past of humans. Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, his novel On the Black Hill (1982) was set closer to home, in the hill farms of the Welsh Borders. It focuses on the relationship between twin brothers, Lewis and Benjamin, who grow up isolated from the course of twentieth century history. Utz (1988), was a novel about the obsession that leads people to collect. Set in Prague, the novel details the life and death of Kaspar Utz, a man obsessed with his collection of Meissen porcelain. Chatwin was working on a number of new ideas for future novels at the time of his death from AIDS in 1989, including a transcontinental epic, provisionally titled Lydia Livingstone.
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