Pamela Norris

‘Always Travel Heavy’

Lesley Blanch: Inner Landscapes, Wilder Shores


John Murray 366pp £25 order from our bookshop

The writer Lesley Blanch, who died in 2007 just a month short of her 103rd birthday, was a romantic adventurer with a passion for Russia and the glamorous East of nineteenth-century Orientalism. She is most widely known for The Wilder Shores of Love, published by John Murray in 1954, an account of four women – including Jane Digby, a society beauty who married a sheikh, and Isabel Burton, wife of the explorer – who discovered ‘in the East, glowing horizons of emotion and daring’ and used love to find ‘liberation and fulfilment’. But her greatest creation was arguably herself. Gifted, intelligent and (some would say ruthlessly) determined, she invented a persona that allowed her to enjoy what she regarded as the necessities of life: admirers, good food, stylish clothes and interiors, and the writing projects that took her to Turkey, the former Persia, Russia and Afghanistan. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,
    • Hi , we would love to review 'Death of the Vazir-Mukhtar' in our next issue! Please could you get in… ,