8 1/2" x 5 5/8"
Ex-libris: John Michael Hayes (11 May 1919 – 19 November 2008) was an American screenwriter, who scripted four of Alfred Hitchcock's films in the 1950s.
Jacket design: Jeanyee Wong
Lesley Blanch was a cult literary figure who influenced and inspired generations of writers, readers and critics. Her lifelong passion was for Russia, the Balkans and the Middle East. At heart a nomad, she spent the greater part of her life travelling about those remote areas her books record so vividly.
Born in London in 1904, Blanch’s first career was as a book illustrator and caricaturist, and scenic and costume designer for the theatre, before turning to writing. While her reputation now rests primarily on three works of non-fiction − 'The Wilder Shores of Love', 'Journey into the Mind’s Eye' and 'The Sabres of Paradise' − her early journalism brings to life the artistic melting pot that was London between the wars, and her books, something of the Middle East as it once was, before conflict and turmoil became the essence of relations between the Arab World and the West.
She left England in 1946, never to return, except as a visitor. Her marriage to Romain Gary, the French novelist and diplomat, afforded her many years of happy wanderings. After their divorce, in 1963, Blanch was seldom at her Paris home longer than to repack.
Blanch was well ahead of her time and prescient in the way she attempted to bridge West and East – especially the West and Islam – a topic that is highly relevant today. She was modern and free, with tremendous wit and style; and a traveller who took risks and relished writing about her adventures. Her life reads like a novel and sets her apart as being a true original. She died in Menton in the South of France, age 103.