Now reading Bruce Chatwin’s first book, In Patagonia.
Chatwin is great! He just had this talent for going to a place, and then really exploring it on all levels.
The man noticed things. And he made the most of the things he noticed. Not that they were always the most significant details, or the truest ones (he had an imagination), or the most dramatic ones, but the sum total of all his observations amounted to the sort of fascinating story only he could tell.
He had great powers of observation, but also such a sense of history and art and architecture and culture and natural science that he always dug out the most fascinating angles on a locale. He had a nose for ferreting out the bizarre. He could connect everyday details in with history, personal anecdotes with literature, things happening on the street with items in the museums, the sacred with the profane. His stories are told simply, by means of perfectly chosen details. A wonderful example of a man of culture, learning and adventure.
I've heard it said he was a very physically beautiful man, maybe one of several reasons he seems to have had no trouble making connections wherever he went in Europe, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia.
And he was a maniac about hiking! Moving! A man intoxicated with places.
Like Hemingway, a writer he admired, Chatwin makes you want to leave it all behind and be somewhere new, with new landscapes, with new people, listening, watching, touching, smelling, feeling, and walking, walking, walking.