May 15, 2013
From Andrew Harvey’s review of The Songlines

No writer has meant as much to my generation. From Mr. Chatwin, we learned to dare to be obsessive, irregular, learned, exotic; learned to burn our school ties and Wellingtons and despise Little Englanderism; learned to mock and avoid a literary establishment that loves to reward poems to goldfish and novels about the tepid lusts of women librarians. From Mr. Chatwin, we learned that most undemocratic, un-Anglo-Saxon of lessons - never to repeat ourselves; each of his books has been a different delight, a different feast of style and form. For us, he has stood for what contemporary England and its nannies of left and right seem dedicated to stifling; inner wildness; the true dandy’s fierce and exacting elegance; the old Elizabethan sense that the world and its wonders are the writer’s province. In Margaret Thatcher’s ropy aviary of provincial jays, squabbling finches and ”worthy” sparrows, Bruce Chatwin has been our bird of paradise, solitary and unpredictable in his apparitions, grand and electric in his markings.

From Andrew Harvey’s review of The Songlines

No writer has meant as much to my generation. From Mr. Chatwin, we learned to dare to be obsessive, irregular, learned, exotic; learned to burn our school ties and Wellingtons and despise Little Englanderism; learned to mock and avoid a literary establishment that loves to reward poems to goldfish and novels about the tepid lusts of women librarians. From Mr. Chatwin, we learned that most undemocratic, un-Anglo-Saxon of lessons - never to repeat ourselves; each of his books has been a different delight, a different feast of style and form. For us, he has stood for what contemporary England and its nannies of left and right seem dedicated to stifling; inner wildness; the true dandy’s fierce and exacting elegance; the old Elizabethan sense that the world and its wonders are the writer’s province. In Margaret Thatcher’s ropy aviary of provincial jays, squabbling finches and ”worthy” sparrows, Bruce Chatwin has been our bird of paradise, solitary and unpredictable in his apparitions, grand and electric in his markings.

(Source: The New York Times)

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