Project Description

Under the Sun: the letters of Bruce Chatwin, 2010

Bruce Chatwin is one of the most significant British novelists and travel writers of our time. His books have become modern-day classics which defy categorisation, inspired by and reflecting his incredible journeys. Tragically, Chatwin’s compelling narrative voice was cut off just as he had found it. “Bruce had just begun,” said his friend, Salman Rushdie, “we saw only the first act.” But Chatwin left behind a wealth of letters and postcards that he wrote, from his first week at school until shortly before his death at the age of forty-eight. Whether typed on Sotheby’s notepaper or hastily scribbled, Chatwin’s correspondence reveals more about himself than he was prepared to expose in his books; his health and finances, his literary ambitions and tastes, his uneasiness about his sexual orientation; above all, his lifelong quest for where to live. Comprising material collected over two decades from hundreds of contacts across five continents, Chatwin’s letters are a valuable and illuminating record of one of the greatest and most enigmatic writers of the twentieth century.

Wonderful… the closest we are ever going to get to a Chatwin autobiography
William Dalrymple, The Times Literary Supplement
These letters burst with affectionate salutations, explosions of rage, sudden enthusiasms
Paul Theroux Daily Telegraph
This compilation of correspondence is aptly titled. British travel writer and novelist Chatwin traveled widely, constantly, and obsessively—everywhere under the sun, in other words…. Chatwin’s many appreciators will see the compilation in its overall significance as a personal visit with one of their literary heroes, as much as that is possible now
Booklist, starred review
This collection should be cherished not least because it is Chatwin’s last
New Statesman
The editors brief and beautifully pointed comments in the footnotes provide some of the most enjoyable moments in this book
Sunday Telegraph
A masterpiece of sympathetic and diligent editing, absolutely fascinating and larded with acerbic comments from Shakespeare’s joint editor, Elizabeth Chatwin
Every drop of Chatwin is worth it. The same exquisite observations found in his novels and the penetrating ideas found in his essays infuse even his most casual letters