Bruce Chatwin was always attracted to border countries: to places on the rim of the world, sandwiched ambiguously between cultures, neither one thing nor another. In South Africa, I met a poet who said that Chatwin wrote as if he was in exile from a country that didn't exist. 'He was in exile from everywhere,' says his wife Elizabeth....
The following month a letter arrived on his editor's desk in London postmarked Lima: 'I have done what I threatened / I suddenly got fed up with N.Y. and ran away to South America / I have been staying with a cousin in Lima for the past week and am going tonight to Buenos Aires. I intend to spend Christmas in the middle of Patagonia / I am doing a story there for myself, something I have always wanted to write up.'
The story, he went on, 'could be marvellous[sp], but I'll have to do it in my own way.'
-from the Introduction to Bruce Chatwin's In Patagonia, written by Nicolas Shakespeare