Read A Rose In Winter - Travels in Andalusia by Laurie Lee Free Online
Book Title: A Rose In Winter - Travels in Andalusia|
The author of the book: Laurie Lee
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 3.94 MB
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Reader ratings: 4.4
Edition: Penguin Books
Date of issue: January 1st 1977
ISBN 13: 9780140033199
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My first experience of Lee was 'Cider with Rosie' at 14 and i full on loathed it. We analyzed and dissected it into tiny pieces during my O Level studies at school and that quite often signals the death knell for love of a book unless it is of particular perfection. CwR, in my opinion was not. It was years before I picked up another Lee and then it was 'As i walked out one Midsummer morning' which was volume two of his biograpy or memoir and I loved it. Since then i have also read 'A Moment of War', the final volume and so when i saw this lying in a pile in another second hand book shop I picked it up in respect of the latter experiences rather then the first one. It doesn't disappoint.
Lee and his wife are returning to Spain 15 years after he last visited it and they arrive in the isolated and poverty stricken Spain of Franco against whom Lee had tried to wage battle, none too successfully, in 'A moment of War'
"It did not take more than five minutes to wipe out fifteen years and to return me whole to this thorn-cruel, threadbare world, sombre with dead and dying Christs, brassy with glittering Virgins"
In this sentence you encounter the Lee you are going to be accompanied by throughout his couple of months exploring this re-discovered Spain. He is a poet, he is a man brimming over with memory and yet full of expectation that he will find primitive superstition and ecclesial power walking hand in hand. He is, in part, right of course but as the rediscovering goes on he falls in love again with the magnificent beauty and wildness of Spain, he finds people and views and welcome which take his breath away and humble him.
Palm trees exploded darkly overhead
The foothills climbed in writhing terraces...flashed among drifting clouds like a string of jagged moons
Granada's winter air is a killer, moving so slow it will slay a man yet not seem strong enough to blow out a candle
On the flamenco
The man is all voice; the woman all pride and hunger. While his song climbs into ecstasies of improvisation she coils in toils and sobs and throbs around him. And always there is the invisible guitar, whipping them delicately from the darkness, feeding their secret fevers
Wow, that is some seductive and sensual picture he paints. He is deeply in love with this people and this place and it comes alive in his writing. He describes bread making and olives and wine with such affection and yearning that I was pleased i was reading this on holiday and able to indulge my taste buds whilst reading it.
The cottage in which I was staying was on the shore of Derwentwater, a beautiful lake in Cumbria. Light pollution from Keswick, two miles or so away curtailed my adoration of the night sky a little though not as much as when i am in Poole where the street lights ravage the night sky with their horrible bright fingers but Lee describes stars in such a way that you close your eyes and are there with him seeing them clearly inspite of your own actual experience of 21st Century Western night skys.
At another time he speaks of daybreak
Gradually the cloud throbbed red with light, then suddenly caught the still unrisen sun and burst like an expanding bomb.....after the long unthinking darkness everything now began to happen at once. The stars snapped shut, the sky bled green, vermillion tides ran over the water, the hills around took on the colour of firebrick and the great sun drew himself at last raw and dripping from the waves
Excuse the long quote but it was so lovely, so clever, so just right.
There is humour and fun. He pokes fun at himself, at his wife who yet is adored and feted by every mortal spaniard they appear to meet whether male or female, at his hosts and at his companions on the journey but the poking fun is gentle and affectionate.
Careering, as i am, towards the big 50 next year i have begun to learn the cello. At the moment it sounds remarkably like I am slaughtering my cat for 15 minutes every day and I feel for my poor teacher. Lee spoke of his taking lessons on the guitar whilst staying in Seville and reported it thusly and i feel it is how Amanda, my teacher, must feel:
After an hour's examination, during which he tested all my faulty coordinations, he would hand me a page of exercises and bid me take them twice a day. Then with a little bow, his chin resting mournfully upon his paper tie, he would leave me to visit his next patient
I could load quote upon quote but i have tried to give a small sample to try to show the type of book it is. It is a travelogue in which he shares his thoughts and experiences and enables us to taste just a little of his love. The harshness and difficulty of the life of the poor in Spain is made clear and he in no way tries to lessen it, he wishes us to see the beauty whlst feeling the pain and it is, to use a horribly overused phrase, a lovely extended love letter to this place which has been so influential on his past and therefore on his future.
My only caveat in my endless hymn of praise is one totally based on personal feelings. Lee, like so many other writers before and since, goes into ecstasy over bullfighting. The magnificence of the spectacle, of the beauty of the matadors, of the raw power of the bulls but i always struggle with how this cruelty can ever be seen as anything but brutal savagery. I realize Lee was writing this in 1955 or so and the world and our outlook on so many things has changed and so maybe I need to take that into consideration but at one point he remarks on how one of the bulls comes into the ring and cowers in terror against the wall and is pricked and barbed and forced into fighting. It turned my stomach in October 2012, I cannot believe that would not have done the same had i been there in April 1955.
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Read information about the authorLaurence Edward Alan "Laurie" Lee, MBE, was an English poet, novelist, and screenwriter. His most famous work was an autobiographical trilogy which consisted of Cider with Rosie (1959), As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) and A Moment of War (1991). While the first volume famously recounts his childhood in the idyllic Slad Valley, the second deals with his leaving home for London and his first visit to Spain in 1934, and the third with his return in December 1937 to join the Republican International Brigade.
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