Under The Sun: The Letters of Bruce Chatwin ****
Selected and Edited by
Elizabeth & Nicholas Shakespeare (Jonathan Cape)
I had read all of Bruce Chatwin's six books written in six different genres before his premature death in 1989 aged 48. Like many I thought he was destined to be our greatest living writer.
He died of Aids at a time when his family and friends were keen to hide his illness. He was thought to be bi-sexual despite his marriage to Elizabeth ( who was some kind of saint) but Nicholas Shakespeare, his biographer, claimed the marriage was celibate. As time goes by he reminds me more and more of a latter day Wilfred Thesiger.
Anyway, these letters of Chatwin date from his time at prep school to his death in Nice and illustrate his chaotic and impetuous life style.
In future years, it may be more difficult to publish letters of our great writers and thinkers unless someone has kept all those emails. Letter writing has surely passed its sell by date.