William Dalrymple,Kevin Rushby

Tales from the life of Bruce Wannell

Bruce Wannell was the greatest Orientalist traveller of his generation: a Paddy Leigh Fermor of the East, a Kim for our time. He lived through the Iranian Revolution, worked for a decade in the North West Frontier during the wars in Afghanistan, could transcribe the most complex Arabic calligraphy by sight and spoke Iranian and Afghan Persian with a dazzling, poetic fluency. His curious combination of talents — linguist, musician, translator and teacher — were duplicated by an international network of friendships with scholars, poets, spies, aid-workers, archaeologists, diplomats, artists and writers. Bruce could quote Hafez from memory, rustle up a lethal cocktail, lose himself in Brahms, open any door, organise a concert within days of arriving in a foreign city or walk across a mountain with just walnuts and dried mulberries in his pocket. He was a true original, remembered here with affection, humour and wonder by over eighty of his friends and collaborators.
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