Shusha Guppy interviews Lesley Blanch (1991) | part 6

Shusha Guppy interviewed Lesley Blanch at her home in Garavan, before and after a delicious home-cooked lunch consumed in the shade of a fig tree in the garden. September 1988.

Shusha Guppy : Do you have a routine for work? When do you work?

Lesley Blanch :  I used to write early in the morning – I was rather matinale. When I was writing The Sabres in Hollywood and I was running a house and doing lots of entertaining, I used to write when I came back from a party, then have two or three hours sleep, get up at five and write till eight. Alternatively I would get up at three and work till seven, then get into the car and go up into the hills around Los Angeles to have breakfast in some cowboy café. But it was irregular work – Romain and the house came first.

Continue reading “Shusha Guppy interviews Lesley Blanch (1991) | part 6”

Shusha Guppy interviews Lesley Blanch (1991) | part 2

imam shamyl his sons and descendants lesley blanch dot com

Shusha Guppy interviewed Lesley Blanch at her home in Garavan, before and after a delicious home-cooked lunch consumed in the shade of a fig tree in the garden. September 1988.

Shusha Guppy : It took some six years to write your next book, which you told me you consider your best: The Sabres of Paradise, the story of the Imam Shamyl. Your husband Romain Gary admired it greatly, and called it a masterpiece, didn’t he?

Lesley Blanch : Yes. Praise from him was praise indeed!

SG : It has a very rich texture and is beautifully written, and it was a great success everywhere – France, Germany, Russia . . .

LB : And I have just heard that a Daghestani man, an officer in the Soviet Army, has translated it into Daghestani language, which is interesting. Well, there had been nothing else on this splendid subject, except in Russia. I wrote it in Los Angeles in the late fifties. My husband was then the French Consul General there. I used to get up at three or four in the morning and write, and my research often took me away, sometimes to Turkey and the Caucasus. But when I finished it there seemed to be something missing, a gap, and I decided I must go back to Istanbul, where Shamyl had lived briefly in exile after his defeat. My husband thought I was mad, and discouraged me. We always had to give a huge party on July 14th for the French citizens of Los Angeles – there were about eleven thousand of them there. Hundreds used to come to this annual affair. It kept me busy twenty-four hours, but I left the next day. I had a feeling that I had to go and find Shamyl’s family.

Continue reading “Shusha Guppy interviews Lesley Blanch (1991) | part 2”