Hav author Jan Morris review ✓ 3

review Hav author Jan Morris

Hav author Jan Morris review ✓ 3 ✓ A New York Review Books OriginalHav is like no place on earth Rud to be the site of Troy captured during the crusades and recaptured by Saladin visited by Tolstoy Hitler Grace Kelly and Princess Diana this Mediterranean city state is home to several architectural marvels and an annual rooftop race that is a Orridors and uarters of Hav we hear the mingling of Italian Russian and Arabic in its markets delight in its famous snow raspberries and meet the denizens of its casinos and cafés When Morris published Last Letters from Hav in 1985 it was short listed for the Booker Prize Here it is joined by Hav of the Myrmidons a seuel that brings the story up to date Twenty first century H. This was somewhat interesting but I'm not sure the of the point of it I always feel with projects of this sort that I am wasting my time reading something informative in tone but non factual in content Essentially why read a cultural study or travelogue about a made up place when there are plenty of real ones about which I could be better informed I am dropping this unfinished and will try something else by the author at some later date

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A New York Review Books OriginalHav is like no place on earth Rud to be the site of Troy captured during the crusades and recaptured by Saladin visited by Tolstoy Hitler Grace Kelly and Princess Diana this Mediterranean city state is home to several architectural marvels and an annual rooftop race that is a feat of athleticism and insanity As Jan Morris guides us through the c. Morris most everyone knows is one of the premier travel writers of the 20th Century She went everywhere and wrote with such interest and erudition about the places she visited that one reads her works simply because she writes better than anyone else One publisher gave her the opportunity to write fiction and Morris created an invented place Hav to which many folks immediately wanted to book a flight This novel is composed of two parts in Last Letters from Hav Morris describes for us her first glimpse of the Protectorate of Hav its residents flora fauna religions and origins In Hav of the Myrmidons written twenty years later Morris returns to a much changed Protectorate In the Epilogue to the combined novel called simply Hav published by nyrb Morris tells us that the allegories of old Hav have been transmuted from a place of “overlapping ancient cultures but with familiar signposts based in history” to allegories of “civic prodigieshitherto inconceivable and themselves all but fictional still”Hav is an international protectorate near the Black Sea and on the Mediterranean Every major nation had its representatives there ensconced in formerly grand buildings that carried a storied history When Morris visited in the 1980’s Hav was rundown and a tiny bit disreputable but the glamour of earlier days still shone through Morris shares her first impressions upon her arrival at night monotonous and cold stark and forbidding and those again modified by clear morning light bright colorful polyglot She stays several months buys an automobile and travels by ferry to outlying islands She meets the important citizens and legal representatives of countries occupying national concessions in Hav and witnesses the major celebrations—the coming of the snow raspberries and the Roof Race Her visits to The Iron Dog and The House of the Chinese Master “the most astonishing aesthetic experience Hav can offer” are accompanied by marvelously detailed descriptions composed of wonder and aweThe novel is just a travel memoir a very good one with historical references and informative notes about where to find the best food until Morris comes to her discussion of the British Concession and its history in the province Morris seems to become much pointed in her references when she describes the British consul his wife and English interests in establishing a base in Hav Morris includes notes General CJ Napier wrote to his wife about Hav “A dreadful hole—worse than Sind” and “Oh what a foretaste of hell this is” The British always kept some distance from true involvement in the life of Hav they “loathed the Protectorate” created buildings that looked uite like those created in India for their comfort and were reputed to house only spies in their officesWe learn that celebrities and leaders from many countries visited Hav in its heyday Morris’ description of Nijinsky’s visit is particularly poignant but Hitler and Wagner at different times naturally George Sand and Chopin Kim Philby and the shadowy Sir Edmund Backhouse scholarly sinologist and baronet were all said to have stayed there at some time or anotherAn escarpment just to the north of Hav was home to a cave dwelling tribe of troglodytes who never settled in the city proper but who form “a still living bridge between the city and its remotest origins” Their language has a fragile connection with the Celtic but is still incomprehensible to everyone outside their group It is said when they first saw the peninsula upon which Hav now sits surrounded by blue sea they called the place “Summer” or hav in the surviving Celtic language of the West The underlying political structure of Hav was a shambles of competing interests and insufficiently expansionist beliefs which added to the rich confusion of organic growth in the labyrinthine city Hav was likewise a

Jan Morris ë 3 summary

Hav author Jan MorrAv is nearly unrecognizable Sanitized and monetized it is ruled by a group of fanatics who have rewritten its history to reflect their own blinkered view of the past Morris’s only novel is dazzlingly sui generis part erudite travel memoir part speculative fiction part cautionary political tale It transports the reader to an extraordinary place that never was but could well b. A book that I feel was written essentially for me Not in the sense of an upheaval ing personal revelation but one that deals with my adoration of esoterica of ongoing multicultural melting of people and ideas both modern and ancient I think the first seuence of the story Last Letters from Hav is the successful piece of writing The second Hav of the Myrmidons is fascinating but feels a little less lovingly thought over In any case it's an extremely fascinating study of the collective consciousness of the city and the author clearly understands the creeping dread of gentrifying forces in favor of anarcho libertarian pastiche Here you find traces of Dubai Brooklyn or SirteSmall aside #1 As a fictional place did anyone try to triangulate the physical and conceptual location of Hav from all of its cobbled descriptions Did you come up with the Republic of Hatay and AntiochSmall aside #2 There are a few editorial oversights that the editors should be advised to correct in Myrmidons Magda is at least twice called Mazda a missing space a double period a period in place of a comma and instances of stray punctuation often enough to be noticeable