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A Small Place in Italy }

A Small Place in Italy


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product no: 25702
author: Eric Newby
publisher: HarperCollins
isbn:9780007367900
edition: Reprint Edition
edition date: March 2011
pages: 228
size: 128 x 197 x 16 mm
weight: 194 g
format: Paperback
sales rank: 14955

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In 1967, veteran travel writer Eric Newby and his heroic wife Wanda fulfiled their dream of a return to life in the Italian hills where they first met during World War II. But this fulfilment would not come easy. The dream materialised in the form of I Castagni ('The Chestnuts'), a small, decrepit farmhouse with no roof, an abandoned septic tank and its own indigenous wildlife reluctant to give up their home. But in the foothills of the Apuan Alps on the border of Liguria and Northern Tuscany, this ramshackle house would soon become a hub of love, friendship and activity.

Whether recounting dangerous expeditions through Afghanistan or everyday life in a country house, Newby's talent shines through as one of the foremost writers of the comic travel genre. Full of Newby's sharp wit and good humour, A Small Place in Italy returns, twenty years later, to the life of Newby's much-cherished classic, Love and War in the Apennines. It lovingly recounts the quickly disappearing lifestyle of the idiosyncratic locals, and the enduring friendships they forge, whether sharing in growing their first wine harvest as novices or frying poisonous mushrooms for a feast.

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Veteran travel writer Eric Newby has a massive following and is cherished as the forefather of the modern comic travel book. However, less known are his adventures during the years he spent as an apprentice and commercial buyer in the improbable trade of women's fashion.

From his repatriation as a prisoner of war in 1945 to his writing of the bestselling A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush in 1956, Eric Newby's years as a commercial traveller in the world of haute couture were as full of adventure and oddity as any during his time as travel editor for the Observer.

Something Wholesale is Newby's hilarious and wonderfully chaotic tale of the disorder that was his life as an apprentice to the family garment firm of Lane and Newby, including hilariously recounted escapades with sudden-onset wool allergies, waist-deep predicaments in tissue paper and the soul-destroying task of matching buttons.

In addition to the charming chaos of his work in the family business, it is also a warm and loving portrait of his father, a delightfully eccentric gentleman who managed to spend more energy avoiding and actively participating in disasters than he did in preserving his business.

With its quick wit, self-deprecating charm and splendidly fascinating detail, this is vintage Newby - only with a garment bag in place of a well-worn suitcase.
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After the Italian Armistice of 1943, Eric Newby escaped from the prison camp in which he'd been held for a year. He evaded the German army by hiding in the caves and forests of Fontanellato, in Italy's Po Valley. Against this picturesque backdrop, he was sheltered for three months by an informal network of Italian peasants, who fed, supported and nursed him, before his eventual recapture.

Love and War in the Apennines is Newby's tribute to the selfless and courageous people who were to be his saviours and companions during this troubled time and of their bleak and unchanging way of life. Of the cast of idiosyncratic characters, most notable was the beautiful local girl on a bike who would teach him the language, and eventually help him escape; two years later they were married and would spend the rest of their lives as co-adventurers.

Part travelogue, part escape story and part romance, this is a mesmerising account of wisdom, courage, humour and adventure, and tells the story of the early life of a man who would become one of Britain's best-loved literary adventurers.
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