You will walk in the sun
In this eulogy of travel and creation, Jennifer Lesieur follows in the footsteps of Bruce Chatwin, writer and insatiable traveller, to his favourite places, his libraries, his wanderings, where the sun shines eternally. To try to understand why elsewhere will always be better than here.
The English writer Bruce Chatwin (1940-1989) lived his short life on the run.
A promising student, he abandoned his studies at 18 to become a handler at Sotheby’s. He was soon spotted for his incredible eye: he knew how to spot an important work of art, how to distinguish the real from the fake. At 28, he was one of the youngest directors of the famous art house, but he left his job at the height of his fame to study archaeology in the mists of Edinburgh. Then he left the Scottish moors with these words: “With archaeology I fell into the same trap as with the art world, because there is too much importance attached to things.”
He stayed in London for a few months, working for the Sunday Times Magazine, where he quickly became the star reporter. And unpredictable. One day, he drops everything and leaves for Patagonia. His life took a new course. At 37, he chose a career as a writer.
A traveller, aesthete, seducer, secretive and extrovert at the same time, he published some of the cult books of travel literature: In Patagonia and The Song of the Trails.
Chatwin left an original body of work in which travelogue and fiction, exotic novel and historical document, biography and rustic novel, travelogue and philosophical essay, short story and biography, essay, autobiography, diary and reportage are mixed. A thousand pages of a multiform work in which the themes of exile, wandering and nomadism recur.
Unadapted to social constraints, a flamboyant storyteller, a born expert on antiques, a reader of forgotten classics, a compulsive collector paradoxically attracted to simplicity – he entrusted the design of his London flat to John Pawson – Chatwin made an art of living out of his obsession for nomadism.
Tu marcheras dans le soleil (You will walk in the sun)