A WRITER'S WIT
I have discovered that most of the beauties of travel are due to the strange hours we keep to see them . . . .
William Carlos Williams
Born September 17, 1883
My Book World
I came upon Ms. Macaulay when I was searching for a female writer born on August 1 to use in my “Writer’s Wit” citation for that date. The book sounded interesting because according to the woman’s biography, she struggled at times with whether she would live a secular life or a Christian one, and her work reflected such a conversation.
The book obviously takes place in Turkey, throughout the Middle East of a much earlier time. And obviously, neither men nor women could easily travel there today.
Information I’ve adapted from the back cover tells the plot in a nutshell: The narrator, Laurie, relates the story of herself, her Aunt Dot and camel (whom Laurie borrows from time to time), and Father Hugh Chantry-Pigg. They are traveling from Istanbul to Trebizond to spread Christianity; Laurie is perhaps more devoted than her Aunt Dot, though they both seem to fade in and out on that matter. Along the way this troupe encounters spies, a Greek sorcerer, an ape, and Billy Graham with a busload of evangelists. The novel is part travelogue and part comedy of manners, “a bracing meditation on the perils of love, doubt, faith, and spirituality in the modern world.”
This novel is considered by many to be Macaulay’s finest. I found it interesting, but I must confess that it would have been more entertaining had I ever traveled to that part of the world myself . . . and if I’d studied more ancient history; many of the references were lost on me. And I believe her “wit” to be a bit anachronistic, perhaps understandable to the British and/or those who lived as adults at the time she wrote this book. I have the hard copy if anyone should want to borrow it! Let me know.
NEXT TIME: DIY PUBLISHING 101-C