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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Patrick Leigh Fermor

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:
  • 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.
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.

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