Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Paperbacks

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Paperbacks

Article excerpt

Byline: CATHERINE SHOARD

A Writer's World

by Jan Morris

(Faber, [pounds sterling]9.99)

AS first scoops go, the conquest of Everest takes some beating. On 30 May 1953, rookie reporter Jan Morris, then 27 and still a James, slithered down a Himalayan precipice to file the story of Hillary and Tenzing's triumph.

Three days later it ran in The Times, kept off the front page only by the Queen's coronation.

It's the opening article in this anthology (of 87) and one of the best, full of the thrill of glacierface reportage: "It was thumbs up! Everest was climbed!"

The rest are mostly moody urban sketches. Postwar Berlin is "dark and floodlit, like the scene of an accident"; Manhattan brisk and crowded and full of people saying "Pardon me, I hope I haven't snagged your nylons"; Sydney "founded by the scum of England" - a remark that earned Morris five years of hate mail.

First-class stuff, even if it can feel a touch too whistlestop. …

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