Part travel guide, part literary study—twelve riveting evocations of place
From Venice to Vietnam, from the Welsh coast to Cairo, Don Meredith has traveled in the wake of twentieth-century writers, using their novels and poems as guides, as another wayfarer might turn to Fodor's or the Guide Bleu. Canvassing the works of authors especially attuned to a sense of place, he has gone in search of the backstreets, basilicas, cafés, piazzas, and countrysides that figured so powerfully in their writings. Part travelogue, part literary study, Where the Tigers Were is Meredith's account of these explorations into the impact of place in a dozen literary classics.
Meredith examines exile and creative vision in the work of expatriates who, with clarity and imagination, explored exotic landscapes—Graham Greene, Lawrence Durrell, T. E. Lawrence, Karen Blixen, Thomas Mann, E. M. Forster, and Maria Thomas. Against these artists Meredith balances writers who tilled the literary soil of the places they grew up: the poets C. P. Cavafy and Dylan Thomas, the novelists Giorgio Bassani, Naguib Mahfouz, and Marguerite Duras. Bringing their poetry and prose into mutually illuminating conversation with the landscapes the authors made their own, Meredith vividly evokes each setting, animating it with a sense of its peculiar energy. The twelve narratives in Where the Tigers Were explore this fascinating intersection, offering fresh insights into the lives and works of writers and an engaging approach to both literature and travel.
Born and raised in southern California, Don Meredith moved to San Francisco in 1960. Two years later he sailed to Europe, where he lived on a Dalmatian island, then for ten years on a Tuscan farm. Winner of the 1999 George Garrett Fiction Prize, and twice a recipient of fellowships in fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts, he is the author of novels, short stories, essays, and travel articles. Meredith lives on Lamu Island, in Kenya.
"Where the Tigers Were is a completely fascinating and wholly delightful account of real adventures in exotic places, past and present. With the gifted writer Don Meredith as our personal tour guide, we are taken to visit the places where some of our greatest modern writers lived and out of which they created masterworks. The result is pure pleasure, a brilliant book to admire and to enjoy."—George Garrett, author of Death of the Fox: A Novel of Elizabeth and Raleigh
"Don Meredith possesses that essential knack so vital to the successful travel writer—an eye for the bizarre, the mundane, the historic, juxtaposed with a feeling for a good story. His study of Lawrence of Arabia summons the traveler in his armchair. Go now to Arabia, to Damascus, before it is too late."—Errol Trzebinski, author of The Lives of Beryl Markham