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Norman Lewis moves from Spiritualist parents in Enfield to live with supremely dotty aunts in Carmarthen, whose baking of a weekly cake to feed the jackdaws gives the book its title.

Escaping his eccentric family by marrying the daughter of a Sicilian associate of the Mafia, Norman made a living as a wedding photographer and by dealing in cameras, while restoring and racing Bugattis for pleasure. Here we see his first journeys in Spain, Cuba and the Yemen, and a wartime spent in Algeria, Sicily and Italy, all of which acted as an apprenticeship for his career as one of the twentieth century’s greatest travel writers.

Jackdaw Cake: An Autobiography by Norman Lewis

ISBN: 978-1-906011-82-6

Format: 250pp demi pb

Place: Italy

Thirty-three years ago, John Hatt set up as a publisher creating ELAND BOOKS, a company born at south London. John Hatt’s Eland was the first of a wave of travel lists that emerged in the early 1980s, quickly joined by Century Travellers, the Penguin Classic Travel Library, Picador and Virago. You wouldn’t have wanted to put any money on it, but only the Eland list has endured. Nowadays, E-editions enable our books to be read in parts of the world where bookshops do not exist, but otherwise Eland continues, very much as it first started, with between two and eight new titles a year, and run from an attic. It is a classic tale of the Hare and the Tortoise, or should one say the Leopard and the Eland. For one of the defining characteristics of the Eland is that it is no good at high speeds but ‘can trot along at fourteen miles an hour indefinitely.’  

‘… as a witness to his own times – the good, the bad and the ludicrous – he is unmatched’ – Sunday Times

‘… this book, hilarious, tender, beautifuly written, is certainly one of Norman Lewis’s best.’ – Literary Review

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SKU: 978-1-906011-82-6 Categories: , ,