Who’s There? | Simon Loftus

Who’s There?

Travels in Place and Time


Published June 2024
ISBN: 9781914198823
Format: Paperback

Also available as an eBook:

I have invented nothing, but memory weaves its own histories.

These are travel stories, ranging in time and place. Some are memories of a re-imagined past, others more personal. Simon Loftus’s explorations begin with a performance of Hamlet off the coast of Africa, in 1607, and each of the stories that follow echoes and reflects the opening words of that play, ‘Who’s there?’. They encompass the strange foundations of probability theory, the forthright epitaphs of Suffolk gravestones, the pursuit of wine, dusk on the beach of Essaouira, the simit vendors of Istanbul, an elegy for Palmyra. And much more.

Vividly evocative, this collection is a coda to Simon’s acclaimed Pike in the Basement.

‘Reading Simon Loftus’s beautiful, thoughtful, evocative, literate stories is pure joy.’ Claudia Roden

‘A beguiling, melancholy elegance.’ Tim Parks

‘Apart from the sheer enjoyment of Loftus’s exhumations, his thoughts on the multiple uses of “the memory of a past that never was” deserve to be pondered.’ Times Literary Supplement

‘Revealing himself to be a masterful storyteller, Loftus has pieced together years of in-depth research to create a rich tapestry of personal reminiscence and factual detail.’ Financial Times on The Invention of Memory