They would remain in one place until Margharita decided to move, either because of concern for their safety, or because of friction among family members. Travelling in Patagonia , Milward had discovered the remains of a giant sloth, which he later sold to the British Museum. The skin was later lost, but it inspired Chatwin decades later to visit and write about Patagonia. He was forced to consider other options. His parents discouraged the ideas he offered — an acting career or work in the Colonial Service in Kenya.
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They would remain in one place until Margharita decided to move, either because of concern for their safety, or because of friction among family members. Travelling in Patagonia , Milward had discovered the remains of a giant sloth, which he later sold to the British Museum. The skin was later lost, but it inspired Chatwin decades later to visit and write about Patagonia.
He was forced to consider other options. His parents discouraged the ideas he offered — an acting career or work in the Colonial Service in Kenya. An interview was arranged, and Chatwin secured a job there. Chatwin said he was the "acid green smear on the left. There were various reasons for his disenchantment. Chatwin became increasingly uncomfortable with the situation. Trevor-Roper had been involved in the design of an eye hospital in Addis Ababa , and suggested Chatwin visit East Africa.
In February , Chatwin left for Sudan. He made me feel overburdened and inadequate A visit in December to the Hermitage in Leningrad sparked his interest in the field of archaeology. Chatwin tentatively titled the book The Nomadic Alternative and sought to answer the question "Why do men wander rather than stand still?
He pitched stories to him for possible films, which Ivory did not take seriously. This trip resulted in the book, In Patagonia Chatwin described In Patagonia as "the narrative of an actual journey and a symbolic one It is supposed to fall into the category or be a spoof of Wonder Voyage: the narrator goes to a far country in search of a strange animal: on his way he lands in strange situations, people or other books tell him strange stories which add up to form a message.
According to Susannah Clapp , who edited the book, " Rebecca West amused Chatwin by telling him that these were so good they rendered superfluous the entire text of the book.
One of his biographers, Nicholas Murray , called In Patagonia "one of the most strikingly original post-war English travel books"  and said that it revitalised the genre of travel writing. It was the first time in his career, but not the last, that conversations and characters which Chatwin presented as fact were later alleged to be fiction.
Chatwin had first heard of De Sousa during a visit to Dahomey in Nicholas Shakespeare said that the dismal sales caused Chatwin to pursue a completely different subject for his next book. He continued to have affairs with men, but most of these affairs were short-lived. In he began his first serious affair with Donald Richards, an Australian stockbroker. Chatwin is one of the few men Mapplethorpe photographed fully clothed. However, he struggled fully to understand and describe the songlines and their place in Aboriginal culture.
He spent several weeks in and in Australia, during which he primarily relied on non-Aboriginal people for information, as he was limited by his inability to speak the Aboriginal languages. It frightened him and compelled him to reconcile with his wife. His friend the novelist Salman Rushdie said, "That book was an obsession too great for him His illness did him a favour, got him free of it.
Otherwise, he would have gone on writing it for ten years. As the book goes on, it becomes a reflection on what Chatwin stated was "for me, the question of questions: the nature of human restlessness. I should set down on paper a resume of the ideas, quotations, and encounters that amused me and obsessed me. The project evolved into an opera, The Man with Footsoles of Wind The rare fungus gave Chatwin hope that he might be different and served as the basis of what he told most people about his illness.
He gave various reasons for how he became infected with the fungus — ranging from eating a thousand-year-old egg to exploring a bat cave in Indonesia. He wanted to protect his parents, who were unaware of his homosexual affairs. Elizabeth encouraged him to use a letter he had written to her from Prague in as an inspiration for a new story. Utz was a novel about the obsession that leads people to collect. This was close to the home of one of his mentors, the writer Patrick Leigh Fermor.
After his death, some members of the gay community criticised Chatwin for lack of courage to reveal the true nature of his illness, thinking he would have raised public awareness of AIDS, as he was one of the first high-profile individuals in Britain known to have contracted HIV. His prose is both spare and flamboyant. One aspect that interested him was the few possessions they had. Their Spartan way of life appealed to his aesthetic sense, and he sought to emulate it in his life and his writing, striving to strip needless objects from his life and needless words from his prose.
He admitted to imitating the work of Robert Byron when he first began making notes of his travels. He ultimately aspired to explore the subject in order to answer what he saw as a fundamental question of human existence. For this, he returned to his research from The Nomadic Alternative. According to Elizabeth Chatwin, he "was interested in borders, where things were always changing, not one thing or another.
He identified several examples. There were people who were actual exiles, like some of those profiled in In Patagonia, and the Viceroy of Ouidah, unable to return to Brazil. Murray also cited the main characters in On the Black Hill: "Although not strictly exiles His friend and fellow writer Robyn Davidson said, "He posed questions we all want answered and perhaps gave the illusion they were answerable.
The accuracy problem had arisen before his death, and Chatwin had admitted to "counting up the lies" in In Patagonia, though he stated there were not many. They included a man whom Chatwin insinuated was homosexual and a woman who thought her father was unjustly accused of killing Indians. He stated, "No one likes looking at their own passport photograph, but I found it accurate. Some describe his viewpoint as " colonialist ", citing his lack of interviews with Aboriginals and reliance instead on white Australians for information about Aboriginal culture.
Some readers have taken this as a cue to pass judgement on his books — or else not to bother with them. And yet he remains a great writer, of deep and enduring importance.