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How to Disappear

A Memoir for Misfits

Duncan Fallowell

Publication Year: 2013

Winner of the 2012 PEN Ackerley Prize

Duncan Fallowell sets out to odd corners of the world in pursuit of some extraordinary and improbable characters who were in most cases momentarily famous—or infamous—and then simply disappeared. The first to disappear is the author himself—to a ghostly hotel on a Mediterranean island. His subjects, though unmet or hardly met, live for the reader with remarkable vividness, such as the German artist who bought a large island in the Hebrides and vanished immediately afterward, to the astonishment of its inhabitants. Fallowell tracks down the recluse who inspired Evelyn Waugh's creation Sebastian Flyte, the legendary love object of Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited, who wants both to forget the past and to cling to it. He even pursues the ultimate disappearance—the death of Princess Diana—and the miasma of shock, wonder, and grief that followed, writing "Mystification is absolutely essential to our feeling of being alive."
            In these highly original adventures, How to Disappear winds through the eerie abyss that can open up between someone—or something—being both real and phantom.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Chapter One: Sailing to Gozo

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pp. 3-38

We are held for two days in Catania port by storms of unusual violence, and all Mount Aetna and much of the town have disappeared in a turbulence of drenching cloud. Lit by lightning, a baroque dome or a line of statues or a towerblock might briefly flash out at an unexpected angle; ...

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Chapter Two: The Curious Case of Bapsy Pavry

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pp. 39-102

OOTACAMUND 1975 — There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and Rita Wallace, Sarah Moffett and myself were steaming up the side of the Nilgiri Hills in a little blue train. The wheels moved so slowly that sometimes we seemed to be hanging motionless among green coffee plantations, hardly breaking the cool air. ...

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Chapter Three: Waiting for Maruma

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pp. 103-158

Scotland is not a place I’d normally wish to visit, but Luca was persuasive. ‘I want you to do the story,’ he said. It was sunny and surprisingly warm in the late summer of 1995 when he flew to London from Zurich. We met at King’s Cross Station, 11.30 am on a Friday, and took the express up to Edinburgh. ...

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Chapter Four: Who was Alastair Graham?

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pp. 159-218

At the end of the nineteen-seventies I was living in the small town of Hay-on-Wye writing a book. Several times a week it was necessary to escape Hay’s delightful, gossipy confines, and one of my jaunts took me to New Quay. This is not to be confused with Newquay in Cornwall, surf capital of Britain; ...

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Chapter Five: Beyond the Blue Horizon

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pp. 219-236

It had been the hottest August on record. The last day of the month came, a Sunday, and there was a good promenade concert that night at the Royal Albert Hall – Sibelius, Britten, Stravinsky. But I’d miss it since I’d promised to drive down to Sussex on the Sunday afternoon in order to help my friend Elisa ...

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Acknowledgements

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pp. 237-246

Among the living and the dead, special thanks are due to Bruno Bayley, Rusi Dalal, James Loader, Dolores Maclaine-Clarke, Maruma, Steven Runciman, and Lincoln Townsend; to Jane Davidson for her encouragement and for permission to quote from her and Alastair Graham’s letters; ...


E-ISBN-13: 9780299292430
E-ISBN-10: 0299292436
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299292409
Print-ISBN-10: 0299292401

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2013

Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth