I have no idea how I will write a review of it but someday soon I will try. )of knowing what will happen to this region over the next 75 years. If you haven't heard of record-smashing singer and songwriter Mariah Carey, is there any hope for you? Sadly, by the time she fashioned her research into the tome and had it published, she was compelled to add the dedication: “To my friends in Yugoslavia, who are now all dead or enslaved.”. I just got the Penguin version from the library and am copying the intro with my scanner. However, it was one of the finest books I have ever read. The scope of this book is amazing. I lay back in the darkness and marveled that I should be feeling about Yugoslavia as if it were my mother country, for this was 1937, and I had never seen the place till 1936. She sets Byzantium as her standard for judging "civilization" and is attracted to Orthodox Catholicism. As this enormous two-volume work stands now, it contains not only the history and the pertinent fact, but the spirit. Spending what turned out to be 6 weeks with Rebecca West, her husband, her Serbian Jewish guide Constantine and his Nazi wife Gerda as they tour what was then Yugoslavia filling my head with philosophy, Byzantine art, history both modern and medieval, ethnography, descriptions of seedy inns and filling meals was the kind of immersion in a brilliant and quirky mind that reminded me both in pleasure and in length of the times I've spent with Proust. Though often placed in the travel category, This 1941 review by John Selby (Literary Guideposts) of, Rebecca West could have told the story of what was once Yugoslavia in half the 500,000 words she used in, Miss West has no illusions about these man and women, but she loves them. Welcome back. But that didn't matter. I read this book for months (I believe I started it in July). Refresh and try again. (2) She, 1150 pages including the Epilogue but not the Bibliography! Black Lamb and Grey Falcon records a journey taken by West and her husband Paul, a banker, through the former Yugoslavia in 1934. It probably contains more than the Yugoslavs know themselves. I raised myself on my elbow and called through the open door into the other wagon-lit: — ‘My dear, I know I have inconvenienced you terribly by making you take your holiday now, and I know you did not really want to come to Yugoslavia at all. It would be hard to read, No writer has produced a stranger combination of history, travel, racial analysis and sympathetic understanding than Rebecca West has in her, ... and lots more (look for a bonus in your welcome letter! Even if this a huge book, one never gets tired of the splendid narrative built by Rebecca West all along this marvelous book. At 1,200 pages, you could probably kill someone by hitting them over the head with a copy of BLACK LAMB AND GREY FALCON. I have lost count how many times I had scribbled “wow – beautifully written Rebecca” on the sides of the text. And so I really need to marshal my thoughts here, because I genuinely believe that. This book is as much of a battleground as the Balkans. "Black Lamb and Grey Falcon" is certainly a compelling work, full of vivid imagery and references to otherwise unknown or poorly understood historical events but it may, however, not be an entirely objective account. She was travelling with a Serbian Jewish dude so that may have influenced her slightly in places. I started it and realized something was missing - this wasn't the beginning of the book. The reader must be aware, however (and it is hard to see how any reader could possibly miss it) that West was not only a Serbophile and an enthusiast for a greater Yugoslavia dominated by Serbia, but also (perhaps unconsciously) willing to stamp her romantic vision of South Slav/Serbian nationalism and idealised peasant society on everyone fated to live in the Balkans. The missing link has been reported to Amazon. Just a heads up for people unfamiliar with the book. For example, she greatly admires the South Slavs, particularly the Serbs, because they drove the Turks out of their country after over 500 years of Turkish rule. I can't forget the words of an old woman in Montenegro; "If I had to live, why should my life have been like this? But earlier this year, on the recommendation of another blogger, I bought Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, one of her later books. The shadow of WWII hangs over this and adds even more intensity. I guess it’s something I occasionally ask my 2 young boys to tap into when they are sparring in boxing. Your email address will not be published. Gerda stands in for everything nasty that an Englishwoman might attribute to a German in the 1930s. That cannot help but inspire respect, though if you agree with everything she says in this book I'll start thinking you are her clone. ), The Judgement of Rebecca West (a contemporary view), Quotes by Rebecca West on Art, Experience, & Human Nature, 5 Classic Women Authors Reflect on Memory, 7 Thought-Provoking Quotes by Rebecca West, The Birds Fall Down by Rebecca West (1966), Silences by Tillie Olsen: On Being a Writer and a Mother, Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life. I have been reading it at the approximate rate of 5 pages a day, with some breaks, since July 22, 2019. A classic. Maybe the most beautiful book I've ever read, Reviewed in the United States on April 19, 2016. Now the Nazis have come from the more distant north, and the strong faces of the people are again set in lines of hard suffering. There are two things to keep in mind when reading this book. (But also to pick up again a month later.) For now, I can say that the effort to read it was repaid a thousand times over by the unknown to me history I learned, the deep understanding of the human condition it showed, and the foundation I now have for reading books set in and written by the many writers from what was once called Yugoslavia. But perhaps the real value of this book is that the writer visited Yugoslavia in 1939, on the eve of WWII, that everyone knew was coming, but no-one suspected would be so bad. Of course, Yugoslavia no longer exists. The country may never again be called Yugoslavia, but some of the people will remain essentially the same people the author took such pains to know. Perhaps I'll pick up the book again at a later date. She had a child with HG Wells apparently. I am now on page 588, halfway through the book. It is heart-rending and soul-searching; in parts, almost mystical. Publication coincided with the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia, and West’s intention was to “show the past side by side with the present it created.”. I finally finished this mother. At almost 1200 pages it’s quite a tome, too heavy and too big even for my shoulder bag, which contains all sorts of fripperies! The book isn’t really a travel book as you would imagine but for me this covered a journey through the psyche of the Slavic people – a mind map of them if you will. Top subscription boxes – right to your door, See all details for Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Over the last many years I have attempted to read this book three times. It started to feel a bit overdone when I read long passages. These and other characters in the long narrative are foils to the facts which Miss West uncovers. Rebecca West’s intellect and prose were always appreciated by her contemporaries and the era’s critics, though in all, her legacy is considered by many to be underappreciated. Could just be my interpretation but the book was split into chapters and there were 2 dedicated to Serbia and older Serbia. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon records a journey taken by West and her husband Paul, a banker, through the former Yugoslavia in 1934. Her book makes many things clear. I got tired of reading Christopher Hitchen's rather long winded introduction and decided to skip it and get straight to the book itself. The two-book set has appeared on lists of “Best nonfiction books of the twentieth century” and it has been praised by readers and reviewers alike as an unusual and extraordinary work of nonfiction. West researched the book during a 6-week 1937 trip she made there with her then-husband, traveling over much of the terrain of the old borders, including Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, and more. To see what your friends thought of this book, Writing a five-star review full of superlatives is always difficult: for people who haven’t read it yet, there’s no way any book can live up to the kind of praise that someone who loves it wants to give out. She has a good eye for people and their ways, and deploys her descriptive powers to good effect when describing the country and its inhabitants. Including some that did not manifest themselves until long after her death. There's a wonderful intro by Christopher Hitchens in the Penguin edition (which I don't have), but you can get said intro free from Kindle if you order the sample of the book. Not since Margeuerite Yourcenar have I felt so humbled and awed by a woman author, whose breadth and scope of panoramic vision is magnificent.


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