Tales told in Letters by David Batterham
With a foreword by Barry Humphries
'A Gallery of eccentrics with Batterham himself the most notable, drunk, often penniless...Lucky Hodgkin to have received these letters.' Alan Bennett
This hugely enjoyable collection of letters, written by antiquarian bookseller David Batterham to the painter Howard Hodgkin, introduce us to a richly bohemian world that we might otherwise never encounter.
For several decades David Batterham has scoured Europe and beyond in pursuit of the rare and the forgotten, always poets and royalty.
Dealing can be a solitary way of life and in these intimate letters he writes with mordant humour of nights in fusty hotels and evenings in tired restaurants. In his need to share his adventures, he reveals a unique eye for clothes, for food, for cultural artefacts and hidden places.
He journeys from Venice to New York, from Copenhagen to Paris - always back to Paris - and encounters an assortment of proud book-dealing families, wheelers and dealers, old actors and mad professors.
David Batterham’s wine-stained reports of a wandering life are never censorious, always observant and one can only imagine Howard Hodgkin’s delight on reading them.
'A wonderful book. I spent all afternoon with it and laughed so much...' Ian McEwen
'...resolutely charming and well-written, the impact of the book as a whole at once very moving and hugely funny. ...Batterham himself is a remarkably fine stylist.. a memorable, cherishable book.' The Observer