Veteran travel writer Eric Newby has a massive following and is cherished as the forefather of the modern comic travel book. However, less known are his adventures during the years he spent as an apprentice and commercial buyer in the improbable trade of women's fashion.
From his repatriation as a prisoner of war in 1945 to his writing of the bestselling ‘A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush’ in 1956, Eric Newby’s years as a commercial traveller in the world of haute couture were as full of adventure and oddity as any during his time as travel editor for the Observer.
‘Something Wholesale’ is Newby's hilarious and wonderfully chaotic tale of the disorder that was his life as an apprentice to the family garment firm of Lane and Newby, including hilariously recounted escapades with sudden-onset wool allergies, waist-deep predicaments in tissue paper and the soul-destroying task of matching buttons. In addition to the charming chaos of his work in the family business, it is also a warm and loving portrait of his father, a delightfully eccentric gentleman who managed to spend more energy avoiding and actively participating in disasters than he did in preserving his business.
With its quick wit, self-deprecating charm and splendidly fascinating detail, this is vintage Newby — only with a garment bag in place of a well-worn suitcase.