Written just after the Second World War, Perseus in the Wind (named after the constellation) is perhaps the most personal, and haunting, of all Freya Stark's writings. She muses on the seasons, the effect light has on a landscape at a particular time of day, the smell of the earth after rain, Muslim saints, Indian temples, war and old age. Each chapter is devoted to a particular theme: happiness (simple pleasures, like her father's passion for the view from his cabin in Canada); education (to be able to command happiness, recognize beauty, value death, increase enjoyment); beauty (incongruous, flighty and elusive - a description of the stars, the burst of flowers in a park); death (a childhood awareness of the finality of time, the meaningfulness of the end); memory (the jewelled quality of literature, pleasure, love, an echo or a scent when aged by the passage of time). For those who have loved her travel writing, Perseus in the Wind illuminates the motivations behind her journeys and the woman behind the traveller.
About the Author
Freya Stark (1893-1993), 'the poet of travel', was the doyenne of Middle East writers and one of the most courageous and adventurous female travellers in history. She explored Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Southern Arabia, where she became the first western woman to journey through the Hadhramaut. Usually solo, she ventured to places few Europeans had ever been. She received the title of Dame and her many, now classic, books include Travels in the Near East, A Winter in Arabia, The Southern Gates of Arabia, Alexander's Path, Dust in the Lion's Paw, East is West and Valleys of the Assassins.