Now in paperback, Patrick Leigh Fermor and Deborah Devonshire's witty, informative, and altogether delightful correspondence. In the spring of 1956, Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, youngest of the six legendary Mitford sisters, invited the writer and war hero Patrick Leigh Fermor to visit Lismore Castle, the Devonshires' house in Ireland. The halcyon visit sparked a deep friendship and a lifelong exchange of highly entertaining correspondence.
"Spanning 1954 to 2007, the volume reads like an accidental memoir of a disappearing world stretching from the manor houses of the English aristocracy to the olive groves of Greece, its people and places rendered with a kind of care that's becoming scarce in our age of helter-skelter communication. At the same time, the book's title, a phrase deriving from Leigh Fermor's habit of dashing off messages 'with a foot in the stirrup, ' captures the vigor and bustle of the lives that nourished the correspondence....In Tearing Haste is engaging from start to finish. There isn't a dull letter among Charlotte Mosley's selections. Even her annotations, often incorporating information from the book's two correspondents, are as surprising as they are informative....More than anything else, the collection is important as an addition to Leigh Fermor's body of work, both because his letters constitute a larger portion of the volume and because the writing in them harmonizes with the books that established his literary reputation." --The Nation "This is a book that evokes a lost world of glamour, intelligence and personal scruples. The memory of its pristine landscapes, resolute gaiety and eccentric characters leaves a glorious afterglow." --Sunday Telegraph "Spanning half a century, bursting with wit and conviviality...the result is surely one of the great 20th-century correspondences." --The Observer (London) "This marvelous correspondence celebrates two of the most important things in the world, courage and friendship" --The Spectator "Highly engaging exchanges of mutual joie de vivre." --The Times "As full of fizz and conviviality as a glass of champagne" --Metro "A feast for reading...An enchanting book." --Irish Examiner "Chatty, witty, teasing, gossipy, relentlessly cheerful and with more than a hint of modest good sense, her short replies bounce off his beautiful essays like volleys of tennis balls off a cathedral." --The Scotsman
Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) was an intrepid traveler and a heroic soldier who is widely considered to be one of the finest travel writers of the twentieth century. After his stormy school days, followed by the walk across Europe to Constantinople that begins in A Time of Gifts (1977) and continues through Between the Woods and the Water (1986) and The Broken Road (published posthumously in 2013), he lived and traveled in the Balkans and the Greek archipelago. His books A Time to Keep Silence (1957), Mani (1958) and Roumeli (1966) attest to his deep interest in languages and remote places. In the Second World War he joined the Irish Guards, became a liaison officer in Albania, and fought in Greece and Crete. He was awarded the DSO and OBE. Leigh Fermor lived partly in Greece--in the house he designed with his wife, Joan, in an olive grove in the Mani--and partly in Worcestershire. In 2004 he was knighted for his services to literature and to British-Greek relations. Artemis Cooper's biography, Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure, was published by New York Review Books in 2013. The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire (1920-2014) was the youngest and last surviving of the six noted Mitford sisters. She became chatelaine and housekeeper of one of England's greatest and best-loved houses, and following her husband Andrew's death in 2004, she moved to a village on the Chatsworth Estate. Charlotte Mosley lives in Paris and has worked as a publisher and journalist. She is the editor of Love from Nancy: The Letters of Nancy Mitford, The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh, and The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters.