I'll unashamedly admit that this is first and foremost a plug. Ok, I have just finished Norman Lewis' second book on Spain: The Day of the Fox - and I wanted to share my thoughts about this book with you. But, additionally I wanted to let you know of a great review of Inside the Tortilla by Mathew Hirtes and a review of One Last Thing by Matthias Gruber. So shrug off that hazy summer with three great reviews:
1: Day of the Fox: Norman Lewis
Day of The Fox takes over from where Lewis left off in Voices but In this book he turns biography into novel and brings the village and some of the characters alive in a way it was impossible with 'Voices' The title takes it name from a local superstition about the sighting of a Fox that foretells mishap and bad luck. The story has as its backdrop the demise of the fishing industry and the development of tourism on the Catalan coast (as in Voices). The plight of a single fisherman, a Republican bandit and a new Guardia Civil lieutenant - all create a stage whereby good and evil, luck and chance, survival and death are as predictable as the sea winds. Fascinating. Read the full review on Goodreads here.
2: Inside the Tortilla by Paul Read: Reviewed by Mathew Hirtes
One of my favourite books about Spain is Mark Kurlansky's The Basque History of the World. Ever the evangelist, I was trying to explain its appeal to a Canarian acquaintance before they snatched it from my grasp, browsed at the index, and exclaimed, "Pah, it's full of recipes." However, Paul Read, author of Inside the Tortilla, like Kurlansky before him, realizes the importance of food to a country's people. Instead of the Basque Country, the country in question is Al-Andaluz aka Andalucia. Moving from the costas in search of a more authentically Spanish existence, or as the author himself puts it, "Once I had broken away from the serpentine shopping mall that is unaccountably still called the Mediterranean", Read stumbles across "a small town in the 'Poniente' region, west of the city (of Granada)." I'm not going to give away its identity, although the author feeds the readers enough clues (Duck Soup, anyone?), so will refer it as Reid's given moniker, La Clave.
3: One Last Thing By Paul Read: Reviewed by Matthias Gruber
I didn't expect much of it, not knowing the author and not being a Tai Chi practitioner, but I was positively surprised! This is really a new kind of format, an astounding mixture of information and humor and really original. I actually had to put it aside a couple of times to stop laughing, but I also learned a few very interesting things. As a Wing Chun teacher (Eight Pattern Wing Chun) I also found interesting parallels to my domain, but I do not want to write a spoiler here, just look for yourself!