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Last Letters from Hav

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  58 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Hav is like no place on earth. Rumored to be the site of Troy, captured during the crusades and recaptured by Saladin, visited by Tolstoy, Hitler, Grace Kelly, and Princess Diana, this Mediterranean city-state is home to several architectural marvels and an annual rooftop race that is a feat of athleticism and insanity. As Jan Morris guides us through the corridors and qua ...more
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 203 pages
Published 1985 by Random House Trade
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Jesse Whitehead
Aug 24, 2010 Jesse Whitehead rated it did not like it
This may be not only the most boring, but also the most pointless book that I have ever read. I don’t read travelogues so I don’t know if this is good or bad by those standards, though Jan Morris, in the eighties, was one of the most respected travel writers.

The unfortunate, weird, and amazing thing about this one is that the city of Hav does not exist. This is a travel novel of Ms. Morris spending four months in a city that she made up. She mentions famous people that have visited this city (Hi
...more
Jim Rittenhouse
My god, I've read some horribly boring, pointless books in my time, but this is excruciating. Got about 20% in before it hit the nearest wall, hard, and is now in the to-be-donated pile. Not recommended for anyone anywhere.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Oct 04, 2011 Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides rated it really liked it
Recommended to Snail in Danger (Sid) by: China Mieville (City & the City)
I've wrestled with what to say about this ever since I first read it. I knew I liked it. A lot. If you have ever wished you could go to your favorite author's imaginary city or planet, then this book is for you. If you ever memorized all the bits of trivia that that the author let fall about your favorite imaginary society, then you should give this a try. Likewise if you want to be transported out of your chair or seat on the bus and into a beautifully realized imaginary place. If, however, you ...more
Chris Whyte
Jul 27, 2016 Chris Whyte rated it it was amazing
I adore this book which I first read when I was a teenager not sure of my geography and whether Hav was a real place or not. Those who have described it as lacking plot are correct - not much appears to happen for most of the book. But those who complain of lack of characterisation are wrong because the character is the city itself to which all the vignettes Morris describes add layer upon layer of meaning. The resulting atmosphere is so compelling it's no wonder many people allegedly thought Ha ...more
Bas
Feb 19, 2014 Bas rated it it was amazing
I love this book, it is a kind of condensation of Jan Morris' travel experiences, and longing for other places. Some people call it dull, because Morris firmly keeps her narrative within the realm of the possible, although Hav doesn't exist, it totally feels like it could, and the experiences of the writer there are the universal experiences of travel writers. And just when you come to love this strange little town as a reader, you are forced to leave.
Siobhan Markwell
Oct 21, 2015 Siobhan Markwell rated it did not like it
Lacking detailed characterization and plot line, travelogues work because the reader is interested in the location. If the location doesn't exist, "travel writing" needs an outstanding style and some sort of unifying message. To be honest, I found the tone pretentious and suspect I wouldn't enjoy Morris's writing on real places. What's more, I completely failed to reassemble hundreds of references to real civilizations and personalities into any coherent theme.
Isis
Mar 12, 2013 Isis rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, travel
This is essentially geographical fanfiction, and Hav is a Mary Sue: visited by every important person in history, written about by every contemporary literary light, peopled by Russians and French and Chinese and Armenians and Turks and a strange cave-culture; it's got the most luminous sunsets, the most exquisite sea-urchins, the rarest berries, the strangest customs. I thought it was great fun, but I can see why some readers rate it as pointless and boring.
Qwerty88
Mar 18, 2015 Qwerty88 rated it liked it
This library copy of the book was charmingly anachronistic, with the thicker paper that library books used to have, and a yellowed envelope in the inner page and a bunch of old due date stamps.

The book too started out very meta, knowing that it is memoir of a place that never was, but at the end I was wrapped up in the dream.
Benedict Reid
Jan's first novel. And it suffers from being the first. You can tell that the author hasn't quite worked up the courage to write a novel so instead you get a generally dull travel book for a non-existant place. There are moments of delight, but in general in is remarkable for how it manages to be such a long slow read while being physically quite small.
Catherine Siemann
Dec 15, 2012 Catherine Siemann rated it really liked it
Morris, a distinguished travel writer, here shifts from fact to fiction, but creates an imagined country to which she voyages just as she did many real ones. I remembered this book as being vivid, lyrical, and rather sad, and it's all of those things still; it also holds up to postcolonial scrutiny better than I'd feared.
Jrobertus
Jul 19, 2007 Jrobertus rated it it was amazing
5*. morris creates an enchanting and whimsical 5 month visit to an imaginary place. so real i went looking for it on the map and so did my sister-in-law jamie! terrific reading.
Chester
Chester rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2016
Roland
Roland rated it it was amazing
Apr 12, 2016
Mary Anne
Jun 18, 2012 Mary Anne rated it really liked it
I'm enjoying this "travelogue" to a fictional Turkish city quite a bit.
Cheryl
Cheryl rated it really liked it
Jan 08, 2012
Karl Davies
Karl Davies rated it really liked it
Jun 14, 2015
Tim Westover
Tim Westover rated it it was amazing
Dec 25, 2013
Carina Chien
Carina Chien rated it liked it
Oct 10, 2016
Alan C
Alan C rated it it was amazing
Jul 25, 2015
Bradburn
Bradburn rated it really liked it
Aug 07, 2007
Gayla Merrick
Gayla Merrick rated it really liked it
Dec 06, 2011
Rebecca Foster
Rebecca Foster rated it did not like it
Jul 28, 2011
Kathleen
Kathleen rated it it was ok
Jul 05, 2009
John
John rated it really liked it
Sep 06, 2014
Lindsey
Lindsey rated it liked it
Feb 14, 2013
Hamish Mack
Hamish Mack rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2014
Annie Notman
Annie Notman rated it liked it
Mar 28, 2015
Emily
Emily rated it it was amazing
Nov 22, 2016
David Edmonds
David Edmonds rated it it was amazing
May 01, 2008
Terry
Terry rated it it was amazing
Nov 09, 2014
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Jan Morris previously wrote under the name "James Morris".

Jan Morris is a British historian, author and travel writer. Morris was educated at Lancing College, West Sussex, and Christ Church, Oxford, but is Welsh by heritage and adoption. Before 1970 Morris published under her former name, "James Morris", and is known particularly for the Pax Britannica trilogy, a history of the British Empire, and
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