Hav by Jan Morris August 26, 2011
We are pleased to announce the publication of Hav, a novel by the great Jan Morris. Hav consists of two parts: Last Letters from Hav, originally published in 1985, and its sequel, Hav of the Myrmidons, published in 2006.
When Last Letters from Hav was first published, travel agents heard from clients who wanted to travel to Hav, a place that many thought was real. Morris has written that she was even asked by someone from the Map Room of the Royal Geographical Society “to put him straight about Hav’s location.” But Hav is not real. It is wholly the product of Jan Morris’s prodigious imagination.
In Last Letters from Hav Morris tells of Hav’s glorious past and quaint twentieth-century life. This place, rumored to be the site of Troy, was captured during the crusades and recaptured by Saladin. Chopin, Mark Twain, Tolstoy, D.H. Lawrence, Hitler, and Princess Diana have all visited Hav. A Mediterranean city-state, it is home to architectural marvels and an annual rooftop race. As Morris takes the reader through Hav’s streets, we hear its centuries-old morning trumpet call and the songs of its muezzin, we see the texture of the goods on offer at its markets, and we smell the coffee and smoke drifting from its cafés.
Morris brings the story up-to-date in Hav of the Myrmidons, when she returns to Hav in 2005. She sees an almost unrecognizable land, stripped of its chaotic and contradictory splendor, renamed, and rebuilt. Sanitized and monetized, it is ruled by a group of fanatics who have rewritten its history to reflect their own view of the past.
Last Letters from Hav was short-listed for The Booker Prize in 1985. Hav was short-listed for the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2007.
Read Ursula K. Le Guin’s introduction (pdf)
Also by Jan Morris
Conundrum is a pioneering memoir exploring the borders of gender and early sex-reassignment surgery.