I CAN'T STAY LONG by Laurie Lee


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The travel articles here, comprising a third of this collection of brief essays written in the last two or three decades, do not have the breadth, space and exhilaration of Lee's As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969). However, in these pre-tourism recollections of the Caribbean, Venice, Spain, Warsaw (Lee was a bemused guest there at an official function), etc., there are bright moments: Mexico's tequila is ""exalting without being sinister""; the Dutch students wore caps stitched with feathers ""that seemed to grow straight out of their brains""; and there is an offhand revelation that Irish literature ""is less for the sit-down man than for the stand-up singer and actor. . . ."" The first section, devoted to Lee's Cotswold childhood and youth, is decidedly the best: an eight-year-old's fantastic rainbow image of the globe, treats and tricks, initial impressions of London, and ""First Love"" in a meadow--where young Lee felt ""handsome. jaunty and chosen"" by a cakeshop gift (""her great brown body and crusty roundness became half girl and half groceries""). The middle section contains ruminations on such matters as Love, Appetite, Charm, etc. These are gentle, satisfyingly aphoristic, easily forgotten but pleasant to experience. In all, an agreeable gathering of material which once appeared in such publications as Mademoiselle, Vogue, and The New York limes Book Review.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Atheneum