A wonderful insight into the calm and contemplative world of the monastery from a premier travel writer.
From the French Abbey of St Wandrille to the abandoned and awesome Rock Monasteries of Cappadocia in Turkey, the celebrated travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor studies the rigorous contemplative lives of the monks and the timeless beauty of their monastic surroundings. In his occasional retreats, the peaceful solitude and the calm enchantment of the monasteries was passed on as a kind of 'supernatural windfall' which A Time to Keep Silence so effortlessly records.
Patrick Leigh Fermor is of English and Irish descent. After his stormy schooldays, followed by his walk across Europe to Constantinople, he lived and travelled in the Balkans and the Greek archipelago acquiring a deep interest in languages and remote places. He joined the Irish Guards, became a liaison officer in Albania, fought in Greece and Crete where, during the German occupation, he returned three times (once by parachute). Disguised as a shepherd he lived for over two years in the mountains, organising the resistance, and led the party that captured and evacuated the German Commander, General Kreipe. He was awarded the DSO and OBE, was made Honorary Citizen of Heraklion, and later of Kardamyli and Gytheion.
The English language is still a superb instrument in the hands of a writer who has a virtuoso skill with words, a robust aesthetic passion, an indomitable curiosity and a rapturous historical imagination — Observer
The genius of Patrick Leigh Fermor is a many splendoured thing. Soldier, traveller, writer, Phihellene ... he has already dazzled and delighted ... It is some time since more truth and beauty were distilled into a hundred pages — Stewart Perowne
A brilliant book — Sunday Times
Delightful ... His book is not only an admirable piece of travel writing; it is also a brilliant piece of human exploration — New Statesman
Introspection, history, reportage have their balanced places in a well-written book ... measured and lucent — Sunday Times
Patrick Leigh Fermor is a stylish, superb master of words, which he savours like the choicest vintage — The Times
What a delight it is to read a book so beautifully and sensitively written — Observer
A most successful attempt to portray the reactions of the man of the world (in the literal sense) when confronted with the monastic life — Daily Telegraph
Delightful, lucidly written work of introspection that evokes the hardship and the rewards of the solitary life, as well as its beauty — The Glasgow Herald
John Murray is doing the decent thing and reissuing all of Leigh Fermor's main books ... But what else would you expect from a publisher whose commitment to geography is such that for more than two centuries it has widened our understanding of the world? — Geographical Magazine
A pleasure and an instruction to read — Irish Times
Bringing the landscape alive as no other writer can, he uses his profound and eclectic understanding of cultures and peoples ... to paint vivid pictures - nobody has illuminated the geography of Europe better — Geographical Magazine