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Was mache ich hier
Bruce Chatwin
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Was mache ich hier

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,560 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
'His last book, a "personal selection" of essays, portraits, meditations, travel writing and other unclassifiable Chatwinian forms of prose, was put together during his final, terrible year of wasting of its chief delights is that it contains so many of it's author's best anecdotes, his choicest performances'
Salman Rushdie, Observer
Paperback, 389 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH (first published 1989)
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James M. contemporaries, and that is about all: Bowles retreated to exile in Algeria, where he was fascinated by the culture, and a certain (then unnamed)…morecontemporaries, and that is about all: Bowles retreated to exile in Algeria, where he was fascinated by the culture, and a certain (then unnamed) sexuality. Chatwin was a gadabout, venturing all over the world, fascinated by many questions about everything, from art, to religion, to an amusing, mystical quest, including a poke at finding the Yeti in the shadow of Mount Everest. Both are fabulous writers, and take you into a world far away from most of our domestic realities.(less)
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From memory, and it was a long time ago that I read this, it is a very mixed bag with no central theme. There are some travel/journalism pieces but also an essay on Ernst Juenger's diaries. That alone is the only piece that really sticks in my memory, reading that led me on to read On Marble Cliffs. Also I am long since not the Chatwin fan I once was.
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 cigaret
Yazmina-Michele de Gaye
i have always liked Bruce Chatwin, there is a particular hard cover coffee table style book of his photographs, which appeals to me as i too am an avid traveller and photographer. However i had intended to make a note of all the famous names mentioned in this series of wonderful adventures, name-dropping par excellence! The other point is that i feel rather chuffed by the fact that i knew all those so-called celebs he mentioned...not personally of course, but in reference to each, i didn't feel ...more
Pratishtha Chaurasia
This is the third book by Chatwin I have read this year.
If you are someone who just goes through the pages, not devouring himself in the life the author is telling you about, then I do not believe this book is for you.

This book has left me astonished if Chatwin really lived this amazing life. Just like parents tell their kids stories, the book tells us about people and their lives. It is amazing how he can write about anything, even the smallest of things in a manner which makes you smile to yo
Jacob Overmark
The last essays, travel stories and memories from the hand of Bruce Chatwin.

If you want to get to know one of the most influential travel writers of the 20th century, this is a fine introduction, you definitely will be hungry for more Bruce Chatwin.

Is it relevant today? Certainly.
The description of the post-colonial relationship between France and Algier in "The Very Sad Story of Salah Bougrine" is as relevant as ever.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 03-best-100
amore a prima vista. colpo di fulmine. passionaccia senza filtri (per dire, venerdì scorso ho comperato Venerdì di Repubblica perchè c'era un memoir della sua editor, di cui ho pure letto le memorie bruciane, pessimamente scritte, consapevole che sarebbe stato una cavolata-acchiappa-lettori-iper-bruciani, come poi si è rivelata)
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A splendid collection of stories/essays/thoughts, collected over years of extensive travel that Chatwin has done. In this small book, there are so many different people to meet, so many different cultures to get a whiff of, and so many circumstances to puzzle over. Chatwin is caught in the middle of coup in an African nation, haunted by Yetis in high Himalyan peaks, and has a love-hate relationship with Indira Gandhi during her campaign to return to power after the emergency. And all of it is ne ...more
Jeffrey Lamoureux
Chatwin is impossibly cultured, and it shows. His writing is fantastic and the encounters he describes always entertaining and informative. This is hardly an autobiography in any formal sense; one comes away with little detail of his life, and far too little of his thoughts. I almost wish that he would have elaborated more: on himself, his attitudes, opinions, and world views. Occasionally it's hard to be taken in by his more historical essays, which is why I don't give this book a higher rating ...more
Bruce Chatwin, in turns out, knows how to talk about damn near anything. Whether he's discussing art, describing his travels in West Africa, or having a chat with aging Russian poets, he's a hell of a guide in these short, witty essays, which feature luminaries ranging from Indira Gandhi to Klaus Kinski. I should say that it's nowhere near as brilliant as In Patagonia (a serious candidate for the greatest travelogue of the last century) or Utz (a peculiar, chiseled little novel seemingly designe ...more
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typically entertaining pseudo-fiction collection of travelogues, anecdotes and fables.
The highlight has to be the chapter about Indira Gandhi's post-emergency comeback election campaign. While some of it may be cute invention - the despotic nature of Indira Gandhi in many amusing para-phrases.
The chapter on Werner Herzog directing his film "Cobra Verde", based on Chatwin's "The Viceroy of Ouidah", in Ghana is so amazing and funny that it cured my cold.
Having read "the Viceroy" I then had to watch "Cobra Verde". Of those three works, I'd say Chatwin's sketch on Herzog is the best.
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a book. What a writer. Such an eye for detail, such a brilliant man but he's not in your face about it, except when he can perfectly date an ancient artifact from Iran. Amazing journalist.
Fiona Stocker
I read this book in the eighties or nineties when I was going through my 'Chatwin phase'. It's not my favourite of his. It's somewhat choppy and disjointed, from memory. But still a master of observation at work. It's on the 'must re-read' list. If you've never read Chatwin before, don't start with this. If you like fiction, go straight to On the Black Hill, and if you enjoy literary fiction, Utz.
He remains one of the writers who has influenced me most, for his conviction in living a life of hi
James M.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a reread, since the book came out in the mid-eighties. Splendid, fascinating mind. I've started rereading all his books, both fiction and non-fiction (fantastic travel books--half way through "In Patagonia" right now). Such a pleasure to have a conversation, for that is what it feels like, with this intriguing man, who seems to know everyone and go everywhere, from the heights of the Himalayas to the far reaches at the bottom of the world . . .
Barbara von der Osten
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Chatwin’s personal selection of his own stories, profiles, and travelogues make up this book. One reviewer calls it “a kaleidoscope that offers the many selves that Chatwin created.” It does contain a varied, and at times eclectic collection of ideas and thoughts. Yet I found it to be a brilliant collection of his writings, and might very well be a good place to start for those who have never read anything by him.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
A mixed bag - some of the essays are excellent and intriguing, to the point of being dazzling. But so many other pieces fall short or seem superficial. The work from 1985, as his illness emerged, shows him experimenting with style, memory, and subjects - there is a poignancy to how much work was produced in 1988-89 as his illness became final. Worth reading, but not his strongest work.
Sourojit Das
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rimbaud asked in Ethiopia, "What am I doing here?" This awesome collection of short stories, anecdotes, and bits of odd lore combine together for a truly magical effect. the tete-a tete's with the likes of Malraux et al are not to be missed.
Oh Captain
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hugely entertaining collection of anecdotes, articles and adventures, taking the reader everywhere from the Volga to the Himalayas, by way of various eccentrics, artists and art dealers, warlords, Werner Herzog and the Yeti.
Branka Njegic
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a lovely book of essays and personal journeys. While reading it, you can learn about very interesting people from all walks of life.
Pleasant surprise.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
un libro che ti offre tanti spunti per riflettere, curiosare e che ti mette la voglia di approfondire, non può essere altro che un buon libro..
Not my cup of tea.
Pablo Renzi
il capitolo su Herzog è meraviglioso, ma credo che lo sarebbe anche se l'avesse scritto un altro. tutto diventa più bello quando c'è di mezzo Werner Herzog e quel malato di genio di Kinsky.
Oct 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read and hugely enjoyed some of Mr Chatwin's oeuvre (On the Black Hill and Songlines in particular) and was keen to fill in the gaps. However, this was something of a curate's egg of a book. It is a collection of essays and interviews, published posthumously and so it's no surprise that I enjoyed some parts much more than others.

Travel writing is how Mr Chatwin made his name and it's the travel sections of this that are by far the most enjoyable - the section on Afghanistan is heartbreaki
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An un-remarkable book from a gifted wordsmith. I am quite a fan of Chatwin's brand of travel writing and admire his skills at observing culture and human character, and would prefer to read him any day as compared to, say, Theroux or Thubron or Bryson, but this book is not my cup of tea. First of all, there is a painful lack of coherence - Chatwin hops, skips and jumps from one theme to another in an utterly haphazard fashion and often the reader is left wondering what this guy is up to?! While, ...more
I really enjoy Bruce Chatwin's writing style (though was a bit taken aback when I read his assessment that he writes like Hemingway or D.H. Lawrence....) so "What am I doing here?" has that going for it, at least.

The book really pales in comparison to Chatwin's others, however. It's filled with vignettes and a few short stories about people that Chatwin has met, traveled with (or liked to imagine he knew.) Some were really fascinating... others were really tedious.

I'd really only recommend this
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
This is my first Chatwin book, and many people have said that is one of Chatwin's lesser efforts. If so I can't wait to read more of his works. He is an exceptionally good writer, able to capture in one or two sentences complete portraits of characters or places. He manages to combine the mundane with the thrilling, the everyday detail that makes up a personality with the extreme circumstance that shapes them, and his prose is always on the right side of spare while still being supple.
As with an
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found the essay about Mrs. Ghandi highly interesting. Noting that he knew the history of political violence including forced sterilization of Muslims, and still admiring her and falling under her spell. It is these glimpses that make me believe journalists can not be objective. Yet, I have a hard time classifying Chatwin as a journalist. Overall, not a book that I enjoyed terribly when compared with other Chatwin books. I don’t highly recommend it, nor will I read it again.

For a more detailed
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: travel essay
Shelves: take-or-leave
Not my favorite Chatwin book and hard to give a truly fair review as many years have passed but finishing this one left me flat and as I had read almost all his books I didn't seem to want to complete my Chatwin literary journey. Collection of stories and only a handful were interesting, not on the level of Songlines or In Patagonia but completely different as a collection book as well. Someone else may find it better than myself.
Joseph Mckenna
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Does anyone do a better job creating vivid imagery with such sparse prose? Chatwin remains one of the most talented and varied authors of his generation. This wide ranging travelogue of his meanderings across the globe gives the reader glimpses of sailors from Patagonia, wolf boys in India, an eyewitness account of a west African revolution, yetis, and so much more. A great read for any fan of Chatwin.
May 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection, like most, ebbed and flowed for me, but overall, worth my time and the 86 cents I forked over for it.

The best piece by far was about Werner Herzog and his crazy friend (Kininski?) making a movie in Africa. Kininski at one point was encouraging the women extras to riot, which they took up with alarming zeal.

The China stuff was good too.

He had a motif examing "nomadism" and the benefits of just walking, which I, in particular, nodded my head along with.

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Charles 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 ...more
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“Walking is a virtue, tourism is a deadly sin.” 41 likes
“Man's real home is not a house, but the Road, and that life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.” 18 likes
More quotes…