A Time of Gifts – Patrick Leigh Fermor’s account of his travels as an 18 year old from the Hook of Holland to Hungary over the winter and spring of 1933/1934 – is truly from another time. He walks through a Europe, destination Constantinople, of disappeared rural traditions, emerging Nazism and an aristocracy from another age.
The title comes from Louis MacNeice’s poem, Twelfth Night, and reflects the fact that Patrick Leigh Fermor wrote his account 40 years after his adventure began:
For now the time of gifts is gone –
O boys that grow, O snows that melt,
O bathos that the years must fill –
Here is dull earth to build upon
Undecorated; we have reached
Twelfth Night or what you will . . . you will.
Publisher page: A Time of Gifts – Patrick Leigh Fermor
- Scholar in the wilds – James Campbell’s biography of the author, published in The Guardian, Saturday 9 April 2005
- Colin Thubron recommends reading A Time of Gifts for 2012 from Tom Sawford’s Patrick Leigh Fermor blog about the author’s life and work.