I didn’t realize that Patrick Leigh Fermor, British soldier, adventurer and travel writer, was still alive, but the New York Times reports that he died Friday in England at age 96. I doubt that many readers have heard of him, but if you haven’t you have literary treats in store.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Greece: I lived there for nearly three years as a young child and have returned half a dozen times, spending a month in a tiny village in Crete, island-hopping in the Aegean (where I discovered Santorini as one of Earth’s most beautiful spots), and wandering in the north and, best of all, in the Peloponnese—the large peninsula that is southern Greece.
Leigh Fermor is the best writer in English on Greece that I know, and I particularly recommend his two books Roumeli (1966) and Mani (1958), about the north and south respectively. Mani, which evokes the dry, rocky, and haunting southern landscape of the Peloponnese, will make you want to go there, or to return if you’ve been. It’s one of the finest places I’ve travelled.
A village in the Mani. The tall stone towers were used as fortresses in the internecine blood feuds that consumed the residents, often for years.