‘thoughtful, informative and very personal’,
Dark Ruby: Travels in a Troubled Land
'This highly informative and readable
book may be the closest you’ll get to
'Bran is an excellent observationalist;
her descriptive prose is breathtaking; her non-sentimental but empathetic
dialogue and use of personal anecdote extremely moving. … After
Complex, full of conflicting voices
and often extraordinarily beautiful.’ Kirkus Reviews,
1978 Josip Broz Tito, father and protector of the nation, still lived
in a palace in Belgrade. His Yugoslavia was large, prosperous, and geographically
and culturally diverse; yet it was easy to travel through Slovenia,
Croatia and Bosnia, as I did that September, believing you were in one
country. Compared to provincial Britain it was paradise. Locals and
tourists alike enjoyed good food and drink, and cheap public transport.
For Westerners, there was the added frisson of lifting the hem of the
At seven I look out at the roofs of Santiago de Cuba and at the Sierra Maestra for the last time. A woman is sweeping the backyard of a house just below my hotel window; she must have some kind of sixth sense because as I look down she looks up at me, her figure framed by white and blue convulvulus hanging from the Spanish tiles. Nothing else moves and I realise how much I enjoy urban landscapes before they wake, the potential for noise and movement still arrested in sleep. Thick, pearly mist rolls down out of the mountains, much as Lina Ruiz' sons did in 1958; it moves into the deep cracks in the face of the Sierra Maestra, smoothing and caressing. And overhead the sky is blue - absolutely, immaculately blue.
current project Leaving Great Rome is a travel book about the
Appian Way in Southern Italy. It weaves contemporary travel experience
with the fictionalised autobiography of a famous traveller who took
the Appian Way in its heyday.
Zoë's current project Leaving Great Rome is a travel book about the Appian Way in Southern Italy. It weaves contemporary travel experience with the fictionalised autobiography of a famous traveller who took the Appian Way in its heyday.