A Time of Gifts

  • by Patrick Leigh Fermor
  • Narrated by Crispin Redman
  • 12 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 1933, at the age of 18, Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on an extraordinary journey by foot - from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. A Time of Gifts is the first volume in a trilogy recounting the trip, and takes the listener with him as far as Hungary.
It is a book of compelling glimpses - not only of the events that were curdling Europe at that time, but also of its resplendent domes and monasteries, its great rivers, the sun on the Bavarian snow, the storks and frogs, the hospitable burgomasters who welcomed him, and that world's grandeurs and courtesies. His powers of recollection have astonishing sweep and verve, and the scope is majestic.

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What the Critics Say

"Nothing short of a masterpiece" (Jan Morris)
"Not only is the journey one of physical adventure but of cultural awakening. Architecture, art, genealogy, quirks of history and language are all devoured - and here passed on - with a gusto uniquely his" (Colin Thubron, Sunday Telegraph)
"Rightly considered to be among the most beautiful travel books in the language" (Independent)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Terrific book, disappointing reading

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I love this remarkable book so much, but I am having trouble listening to this plummy and affected reading of it. Listen to the sample carefully before buying--make sure you're OK with this style of delivery!


Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Crispin Redman?

I don't know. Someone who just .... reads.


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- sometomato

Narrator didn't seem the greatest fit perhaps?

I wish it weren't so, but I have to say I was mildly disappointed by the book. Part of the problem has to do with the audio narrator's somewhat dramatically effete-sounding style, although he seems to pronounce German phrases (which pop up regularly) like a native. Regarding the text itself, there seemed to be a fair amount of digression at the beginning, detracting from the travel narrative aspect. Moreover, he just seems too comfortable as long as there are English/German speakers at hand, moving from one host to another by word-of-mouth in Germany and Austria. Czechoslovakia seemed a transition zone (remember, Kafka wrote in German not Czech). So, I'm optimistic that the remainder of the trip covered by the sequel will be more adventurous, shall we say.

I was struck that he's hitting eastern Europe during their brief period of inter-war democracy, no empires, no communists. Still, every time he mentions Jews or Gypsies, I cringe knowing what's soon to follow.
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- John S.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-01-2014
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton