Photograph: Thanassis Stavrakis/APcaption
I'd never heard of Patrick Leigh Fermor until I read a review of The Broken Road, the third and final book of his travel trilogy in the NYT Book Review today. Mr. Nag pointed me to a review of Artemis Cooper's biography of Fermor in The Guardian. It cracked me up:
I love larger than life characters who, against all odds manage to outlive the more timid and abstemious. I think I might read the trilogy and the biography as well. I might have to live as long as he did to accomplish this. Better start drowning those hangovers in buckets of booze.
- Patrick Leigh Fermor died in 2011 at the age of 96, having survived enough assaults on his existence to make Rasputin seem like a quitter.
- He was an insurer's nightmare, an actuary's case-study, and his longevity was preposterous.
- He was beaten into a bloody mess by a gang of pink-coated Irish huntsmen after he asked if they buggered their foxes.
- He smoked 80 cigarettes a day for 30 years, and often set his bed-clothes ablaze after falling asleep with a lit fag in hand.
- He drank epically, and would "drown hangovers like kittens" in breakfast pints of beer and vodka.