Letters to Strabo

by David Smith (m. 1980)

 

 

Set in the late 1970s, Letters to Strabo is the fictional autobiography of Adam Finnegan Black, or ‘Finn’, an innocent young American who is insatiably curious about life. His ambition is to be a travel writer, like his heroes; Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and the ancient Greek ‘father of geography’, Strabo.

When Finn was young, his father Jerry went missing in a scuba diving accident in 1960’s Alexandria. After graduating from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, Finn sets out to fulfil a promise made to his mother at her death. “Finn, promise me one day you’ll find out what really happened to your father.” Along the way, he’s inspired through a series of adventures by the landscapes and people he meets travelling round the Mediterranean, but especially by the Letters to Strabo, written by Eve, his long-distance pen pal whom he dreams, one day, will become his wife... Through these letters, Finn gradually learns more about himself but also about how Eve is, in turn, struggling with an emotional trauma that she won’t fully reveal.

 This is both a love story and coming-of-age tale, painted on the canvas of the radiant literary, cultural and physical geography of the Mediterranean. It is funny and provocative as Finn recounts, with disarming honesty, the excitement and mistakes of youthful energy, but ultimately life-affirming in the emergence of new hope from personal tragedy. The style is both richly descriptive and intimately human and will appeal to lovers of literary fiction and good travel writing, incorporating quotes from classic works spanning from Homer to Hemingway.

David Smith was born in Warwickshire in 1961. He studied Economics at Cambridge and has worked in industry for over 30 years, including periods in Switzerland, the USA and Turkey. He is currently a Chief Financial Officer and lives in West Sussex with his wife and three teenage children. David published his first novel, Searching for Amber, in 2014; his second, Death in Leamington, in 2015; and his third, Love in Lindfield, in 2016.

 

 
 

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