Friday, June 19, 2015


Hav, a compilation of Jan Morris' books Last Letters from Hav and Hav of the Myrmidons, is a strange beast. It reads like a travel memoir, but tell the tale of the author's visit to Hav, a fictional city-state adjoining Turkey. It's quite elegantly done: Jan Morris weaves her city into the history of the Mediterranean world, and into the lives of a variety of real-world historical figures who visited at one point or another. I'm not generally a fan of travel literature, so it was tough going at first, but the book gradually drew me in. I've said of various fantasy and sci-fi authors that they would have been better not attempting to tell a story, but just doing their worldbuilding - there are quite a few authors who create a fascinating world but make boring things happen in them. Jan Morris has done almost exactly that, creating a small geographical and historical fiction without burdening it with a plot or detailed characters. Not the most amazing thing I've read, but certainly a novel approach and an interesting read.

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