John Meyer's Reviews > A Time of Gifts

A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor
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it was ok

Despite the great reviews on Goodreads and the frequency of the word, "masterpiece," written on its back cover... I couldn't enjoy this book. Part of the problem was that it's the story of a journey of a young man written by a middle-aged man. Fermor's memories and dense descriptions almost suggest the trope of the unreliable narrator. No one's memories are that good!

And who is this teenager who speaks 3 languages, quotes from the literary classics, sings songs with strangers, and boasts a vast knowledge of Middle Age history, art, and classical music? I certainly can't relate to him and I'm much older.

The larger problem, and the big problem with most travel books, is that not much happens. He walks, he's broke, he meets people who offer to help him. Even when interesting episodes arise: he gets robbed, he draws sketches of rich people to make some money, he even parties with a couple of conniving women... they soon diffuse and he's back to walking. And why is he walking in the winter? Not one word about that. It reads like a miserable slog and I have no sympathy for him without some sort of explanation.

Then, of course, there is no ending. It's just one part of a trilogy. So there's that....

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Reading Progress

January 15, 2019 – Started Reading
January 15, 2019 – Shelved
February 16, 2019 – Finished Reading

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