Bina Gogineni at Salmagundi:
Rather than repel or frighten him as it might a conventional English gentleman travel-writer, this “atmosphere of entire strangeness” calls to Fermor, pulling him into the fray. Not only does he foray into the local market before even reaching his hotel, but soon afterward he investigates all things Créole—the language, the population, and the dress. Within a mere two days—and despite the fact that Guadeloupe ends up his least inspiring destination—he has so thoroughly immersed himself in the very things whose strangeness had captured his attention that he can bandy Créole patois terms with ease and has decoded the amorous messages indicated by the number of spikes into which the older women tie their silk Madras turbans. What is striking is the thoroughness of his inquiry and his capacity to explain the exotic without eviscerating its alluring quality of otherness.
Fermor’s sustained immersion in the complexities of the exotic in these early expositions adumbrate the ethos that will become ever more striking throughout the travelogue: he is always in the service of the exotic, dutifully pursuing his every resource to learn and render it in all its complexity.