Hav AUTHOR Jan Morris Read º 104

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Orridors and uarters of Hav we hear the mingling of Italian Russian and Arabic in its markets delight in its famous snow raspberries and meet the denizens of its casinos and cafés When Morris published Last Letters from Hav in 1985 it was short listed for the Booker Prize Here it is joined by Hav of the Myrmidons a seuel that brings the story up to date Twenty first century H. I have never in my life read a book two times in a row Until I read Hav This was possible because Hav is not a novel in the ordinary sense It's a travel memoir to a fictional place that could easily exist; it's a meditation on East meeting West on history and culture and modernity; it's about being a stranger in somewhere simultaneously familiar and alien And it has some of the most wonderful prose I've come across This section from Hav illuminates many of the aspects that make the book so wonderful The boats often use their sails and when one comes into the harbour on a southern wind canvas bulging flag streaming keeling gloriously with a slap slap of waves on its prow and its bare brown torsoed Greeks exuberantly laughing and shouting to each other it is as though young navigators have found their way to Hav out of the bright heroic past p66This It's beautiful for a start It suggests that conjunction of somewhere existing both in the present and somehow in the past that makes Hav so intriguing And it's uoted back at its author in the second part of the book as an indication of her own understanding of HavWe're all about the meta Two thirds of the book was written and published in the 1980s According to Ursula le Guin who wrote the introduction it led to people going to their travel agents looking to book a ticket to Hav because it was so convincing Now it really is convincing but at the same time there are aspects that make it uite clear that Hav is a fiction Like the fact that you've never seen it on a map maybe I was confused by that until I look Jan Morris up and discovered that she has written many actual travel books under that name and as James Morris So I concede that perhaps if you knew her earlier work you could be forgiven for some confusion if not uite that much Anyway the last third was written in the early 21st century and sees Jan going back to Hav after the Intervention which was just starting as she left last time And this allows Morris to explore a whole other aspect of culture and developmentLast Letters from Hav are entries written between March and August with Morris arriving in Hav at the start and being bustled out as trouble brews at the end In between she does what any travel writer does she stays in interesting places she visits the important and not so important places in the city she talks to people she reminisces about what other people have said about the place I've been having a great deal of difficulty writing this review because the books is absolutely busting at the scenes with themes with commentary with historical amusings There's multiculturalism and colonialism and identity the losing and finding and historical nature of and doubt around There's appropriation on a massive scale see previous note and getting on with the business of life There's ordinary mystery and profound mystery religion and politics and architecture and this book had me in RAPTURES Can you tell Hav is a city state in a world that really doesn't have them any It's got an uneasy relationship with Turkey its only land neighbour but a seemingly thriving one with certain Arab nations and perhaps the Chinese It's basically meant to be somewhere like the Dardanelles although the geography isn't uite right because it's a big deal that this was where Achilles and his Myrmidons came ashore And the Spartans too apparently And later Arab merchants and Venetian merchants and it's one of very few venerable Chinese merchant settlements outside of Asia See how Morris twists history and makes it just believable There really were moments where I could believe this was real Because her discussion of history is modern too the Brits wanted to colonise it; Hav was shared by France Italy and Germany under a League of Nations mandate; Hitler might have visited and Hemingway did Morris talks to people who are flotsam from this era; and also to a man claiming to be the 125th Caliph Also a casino manager members of the 'troglodyte' race who live in the nearby mountains the local philosophers and some bureaucrats She visits odd monuments the Conveyor Bridge I admit I had to ask someone whether that was actually possible because I was teetering on the edge of What Do I Believe and the Electric Ferry I don't believe that this book could have been written by anyone other than an established travel writer because her eye and ear for even imaginary detail is breathtaking The second section is much shorter and deals with only a week or so some two decades later when Morris is invited back to Hav after the Intervention Hav of the Myrmidons does all of the same things as Last Letters with additional meditation on the nature of change and tourism and the impossibility of an outsider ever really understanding the internal workings of a foreign city There's also the inevitable nature of change and the sinister side of globalisation with imported labour and native populations made to relocate which intriguingly is given a possibly positive spin Morris' books is either revered or believed to be banned in Hav depending on who she speaks to it's one of the bureaucrats who reveres it that uotes the passage above at her as part of the reason for why she was asked back But things have changed Most of the glorious many centuries in one place nature of former Hav is gone replaced with new and forbidding and disorienting architecture Like the massive Myrmidon tower surmounted by an M but no one really knows who or what the Myrmidons are or meant to be in this context Some things of old Hav have been retained but sanitised bent to a new understanding of the world Tourists are allowed but only in a defined space which leads to another bit I wanted to uote because I think it's an indication of a travel writer's despairThe thing is one feels so safe here The security's really marvellous it's all so clean and friendly and well everything we're used to really We've met several old friends here and just feel comfortable in this environment We shall certainly be coming again won't we darling Oh a hundred percent I think it's bloody marvellous what they've achieved when you remember what happened here p196Thus spake an older English couple with no intention of leaving the resort Hav puts me in mind of China Mieville's The City and the City and Christopher Priest's The Islanders both of which do a similar thing with inventing places that ring so amazingly true The Priest is clearly fictional but written as a travel book; the Mieville is a fiction but set in a city that purports to be real I guess Hav conflates the two This review gets nowhere near what I really want to say about Hav I am so glad that it exists and that I have read it And now I will force it into the hands of anybody I possibly can although I admit to some trepidation that maybe other people won't like it as much as I do I haven't been able to look at any Goodreads reviews for that reason I may have used the word intriguing too many times and I may have given in to hyperbole but I don't care I love this book and want to hold it to my heart FOREVER

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Hav AUTHOR Jan MorrAv is nearly unrecognizable Sanitized and monetized it is ruled by a group of fanatics who have rewritten its history to reflect their own blinkered view of the past Morris’s only novel is dazzlingly sui generis part erudite travel memoir part speculative fiction part cautionary political tale It transports the reader to an extraordinary place that never was but could well b. This is actually two separate books Last Letters from Hav and its seuel Hav of the Myrmidons In them Jan Morris writes about an imaginary peninsula ajacent to Turkey that has a mixed population of Arabs Greeks Russians Chinese troglodytes the Kretevs and miscellaneous Europeans Readers of Hav have been so befuddled as to make travel inuiriesA brilliant travel writer like Jan Morris can easily confuse the reader Her picture of the old Hav is so appealing and the picture of the draconian changes after the Intervention which Morris flees in the first part and returns to twenty years later so realistic that the two books together can stand in for almost any small diverse countryAlthough the Hav books are fiction they can almost be read of the changes that are sweeping through the Eastern Mediterranean and other places due to politics and religion and the politics of religion

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Hav AUTHOR Jan Morris Read º 104 ¹ A New York Review Books OriginalHav is like no place on earth Rud to be the site of Troy captured during the crusades and recaptured by Saladin visited by Tolstoy Hitler Grace Kelly and Princess Diana this Mediterranean city state is home to several architectural marvels and an annual rooftop race that is a feat oA New York Review Books OriginalHav is like no place on earth Rud to be the site of Troy captured during the crusades and recaptured by Saladin visited by Tolstoy Hitler Grace Kelly and Princess Diana this Mediterranean city state is home to several architectural marvels and an annual rooftop race that is a feat of athleticism and insanity As Jan Morris guides us through the c. Welsh travel writer Jan Morris imagines a tiny peninsula in the Mediterranean a city state by the name of HavJan Morris spent six months in Hav in 1985 and she returned for six days in 2005 Part One of her book provides a month by month account of her time in 1985 while Part Two is day by day in 2005 all in exuisite detail as Jan Morris includes enough information description and insight to fill three hundred pagesThanks to New York Review Books I recently joined Jan Morris for three weeks in Hav What a country Of course for a full account you will have to read Jan Morris' book for yourself But what I can do is share a number of highlights from my tripLike any traveler real or armchair I'll turn the spotlight on what I found particularly noteworthy And since for me the arts and literature are the thing I put together the following slide showTrumpet in the AM A trumpeter greets each day not with a blaring reveille but a plaintive lament I hesitate to say dirge but each time I was roused from sleep those notes possessed such a mournful uality I wouldn't be surprised if a number of women and men were moved to tears As I understand this music and trumpet playing has a history going back to the European Middle Ages and involves a bloody conflict between Christians and MuslimsHubble bubbles and Much MoreCrack of a crisp clear 6 a m and I'm down by the water at an open air market reminding me of Balti Inner Harbor or Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco Absolutely everything is for sale spare parts for cars and trucks rolls and rolls of silks apples casaba melons coffee beans meat on hooks ponchos shoes and of course second hand books one great find; a copy of Moby Dick with 'Property of the American University Beirut' stamped on the inner cover We should anticipate seeing all the world's goods on display in the Hav market since after all among the city state's population Turkish Arab Greek African Armenian as well as Russian German English French Italian Spanish SwissViewing RainbowIf you like watching TV you're in for a treat and it doesn't matter what corner of the globe you happen to be from In Hav you'll have an opportunity to watch old Hollywood movies in Turkish the most recent American soap operas in Arabic talk shows in French Italian English or Chinese I even caught a replay of a soccer match with Pelé in Portuguese with Russian subtitlesGala Events and Red letter Receptions Positioned as it is at the crossroads of East and West as a geographical hub for various cultures Hav has hosted receptions and grand balls for Russian nobility world leaders famous artists and writers Leo Tolstoy among their number Also of special note Rimsky Korsakov a naval officer at the time became so enchanted with everything he saw in Hav that he was inspired to play one of his own compositions on a grand piano in a prominent Hav garden Then years later he adapted the melody the Hav trumpeter played at dawn for the recurrent theme in his ScheherazadeChance MeetingSipping Turkish coffee at a coffee shop in the old district Jan Morris and I had the good fortune to meet novelist Armand Sauvignon who came to Hav from France in 1928 and has remained in the city state ever since a man currently in his eighties with a long beaky nose creased brow and sharp gray eyes that combine to give one the impression he's looking out at the world in continual irony Armand Sauvignon was gracious enough to write his name in the notebook I had with me The next time I returned to the Hav market I searched out a bookseller displaying a Armand Sauvignon novel actually she had five English language novels of his for sale I made the purchase and scotch taped the author's signature on the title page Incidentally the novel is Returning the saga of two aristocratic families that's set in a fictional Polova that's really HavSouful GeometryThe newly constructed section of Hav New Hav is breathtaking in its symmetry as if an exercise in geometry Mies van der Rohe meets Buckminster Fuller As Jan Morris writes The city was supposed to be a physical representation of the cooperation of unity in variety Its circular shape was meant to symbolize eternal peace and each boulevard was planted with a different species of tree planes catalpas and ilexes to express the joy of amicable differenceMaximal Splatter Sport No account of Hav would be complete without reference to a May 5th event that takes extreme sports to unfathomable limits the Hav Roof Race Here are the words of Jan Morris on this death defying spectacle originating in the 16th century The Roof Race author's caps begins with the scaling of the city wall beside the Market Gate and it entails a double circuit of the entire Medina by a different route each time involving jumps over than thirty alleyways culminating ina prodigious leap over the open space in the centre of the Great Bazaar and ending desperately in a slither down the walls of the Castle gate to the finish The record time for the course is just under an hour and officials are posted all over the rooftops beneath red umbrellas like Turkish pashas themselves to make sure there is no cheatingFor hundreds of years the race was run at midnight but so many runners usually about 50 runners run the Roof Race were maimed or fell to their death in 1882 the Hav leaders Russians at the time shifted the race to dawn Evidently many of the Hav youths disapproved of the switch they derived great delight from watching splayed bodies of runners falling through the street lights to their deaths Oh well at least nowadays those youthful souls can record Roof Race deaths on their cellphones To read all the juicy details run to your nearest bookseller or computer and start reading this New York Review Books edition beginning with an informative introductory essay by Ursula K Le Guin Travel writing has never been imaginative Welsh author Jan Morris 1926 2020