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John Freely (1926—2017): vagabond and exile

He never stopped writing

By David Tonge  

It is a bitter pleasure to read John Freely’s Stamboul Sketches today. The tussling café minstrels, the street markets selling a bric-à-brac of broken dolls and 19th-century instruments of dubious purpose, the ramshackle wooden houses, the 1950s Chevrolets rollicking over the cobbled streets, the gas lamps, the dusty antiquarian bookshops, the ducks’ eggs offered when chickens’ were not available, the street of the dwarf’s fountain—he saw them all, wandering the corners of the crumbling city with his wife, three press-ganged children and colleague Hilary Sumner-Boyd.

John had total…

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