Jan Morris

Forget the Fluff

With Chatwin: A Portrait of Bruce Chatwin

By

Jonathan Cape 224pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Somewhere in this well-balanced memoir Susannah Clapp says that Bruce Chatwin could be ‘too much’ for some people. As a person, he was decidedly too much for me. Snobbism, equally camp and genuine; showy connoisseurship of a quirky kind; the deadly energy of a raconteur; the insensitivity of the tuft-hunter; a gift for mimicry; sexual ambiguity of the Strength Through Joy kind (I can see him now, riding his bicycle blond and bare-backed through Powys, for all the world like a Hitler Youth) – all these characteristics, distilled into one very clever, exuberant and apparently ageless being, made all too rich a mixture for an unsophisticated provincial.

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