This name lodged in my brain from a 99 percent invisible (I think….) podcast advert, for the movie it’s been made into.
But don’t let that, or the cover and blurbs, put you off! The latter not do justice to the book’s research and the twin track quests it recounts – Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett‘s for the ancient civilisation(s) of the Amazon, the author’s for the expedition Fawcett led in 1925, and which never returned.
Fawcett’s previous explorations, surveying borders, rivers and routes through the Amazon in the 1910s and 1920s took place at the same time as more famous expeditions to the Poles and the Mallory-era attempts on Everest. Fawcett’s was a life similarly interrupted and irrevocably impacted by World War I, where he served as an officer on the Western Front.
A couple of interesting nuggets that I learned from the book were that:
El Dorado was the title of the ruler of the fabled and fabulously rich kingdom deep in the jungle, to which the conquistadors gave that name
One minor niggle, but one that kept resurfacing, were the American English references that always jar for the British English ear: ‘the London Times’, the ‘Mayfair district’, ‘jelly’ for jam, ‘X wrote Y’. Still, worth working though!
An array of travelling tales from authors better known for their fiction. Each short and sweet, and for the most part excellent reads, often looking back at an incident or experience early in the author’s life.
Brunetti is asked to investigate the attack on the teenage grand daughter ofContessa Lando-Continui, a friend of his parents-in-law, which left Manuela with a mental age of 6-7 …. 15 years ago.
With the by now familiar an not strictly by the book assistance from Signora Elettra, and with Commissario Claudia Griffoni as his co-investigator rather than trusty Vianello, we see Brunetti comfortable working in a predominantly female context, and see Venice through female eyes.
It took me a while to read my way through Caroline Moorehead’s biography of journalist, traveller and writer, Martha Gellhorn. Lots of detail to explore in an eventful life spanning almost 9 decades, ending in her suicide in 1998.
Always trying to share the impact of significant events on ordinary people, Martha Gellhorn wrote about the Great Depression in her home country of America, the Spanish Civil War, World War II, the Vietnam War, and much more.
Her own life was similarly eventful, living and travelling all around the globe, making friends (and losing them again) across continents.