Writer, traveller, first-hand witness to history, and all-around global citizen: Jan Morris was all these things and more in what felt like multiple lifetimes. Having passed away last year at the age of 94, Allegorizings, a posthumous collection of essays by Morris, reflects on a lifetime of multiple meanings.
A rather sweet collection of stray observations, reminiscences and the occasional salty opinion, this book doesn’t feel – in tone or presentation – a million miles away from her last two volumes of diaries, but the fact it was held back from publication until after her death lends an elegiac, bittersweet quality to the reading. Many of Morris’ best-loved qualities are on full view here: from her championing of kindness over all other attributes; her undiminished sense of wonder at the world; her unashamedly romantic view of Empire and her pride and love for her native Wales.
This collection contains the whole range of human experience, from observations on frivolous social etiquette to moving entries on the passage of time from an author who has certainly lived a full life. Whether discussing something intensely personal or laughably trivial, Jan Morris’ voice is always so clear and so amiable that even after 40 books published, her force of personality is irrepressible.
Allegorizings, Jan Morris (Faber)
Price: £14. Info: here
words ADAM JONES
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