Black Lamb and Grey Falcon

West, Rebecca. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: a Journey Through Yugoslavia. New York: Penguin Books, 1982.

I have to say it otherwise it’s the elephant in the room. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon is a huge book. Over 1,100 pages long. Actually, it’s 1,181 if you include the index and bibliography. Craziness. Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way… Despite the length Black Lamb and Grey Falcon was, for the most part, a pleasure to read. I have to admit I didn’t finish it. I ran out of steam halfway through. However, West has a great conversational tone to her writing which levels out the dryness of the subject. Anyone who can insert the phrase “political cantankerousness” when discussing the battle of the Mohacs in 1526 is okay in my book.

Quote I liked, “He is perpetually drunk on what comes out of his mouth, not what goes into it” (p 41).

Reason read: If you are in the mood to visit the Balkans, July is supposedly the best time to go.

Author fact: Rebecca West was born Cicily Isabel Fairfield which I think is a beautiful name. According to the author bio in Black Lamb she was in a romantic relationship with H.G. Wells for ten years. Interesting.

Book trivia: Even though this is considered a travel book there are no maps, illustrations or photographs. Nothing of the sort.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in two different chapters. First, in “Balkan Specters” (p 34) and again in “Lady Travelers” (p 143).

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