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An Englishman in Madrid Hardcover – 25 Apr 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (25 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085705189X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857051899
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 434,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2.6 out of 5 stars
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By London Matron on 2 Jun 2013
Format: Hardcover
Aristocrats. Communists. Exotic mansions. Back street taverns. Spies. Sex. And all set against the violence exploding around Spain as the Civil War ferments.

This is masterful. One of the best books about Spain I have ever come across and yes, joy, he takes a serious subject but offers us a comedy of manners that makes the complexity of the politics and factions so very readable and understandable.

Art historian who worships Velasquez goes to Madrid to value a picture for a grand ducal family who want the cash to go into exile - or so it seems. The family are glamorous and charming and our sort of hero is drawn into a web of conspiracy and seduction that puts his life at stake.

You will meet some of the leaders of the Falange (the fascists) and even Franco takes a turn. But the extraordinary thing is that for once, just for once, this isn't a book about all Nationalists bad, all Republicans good - the standard fare we get - but portrays ( yes, despite what we know about the Falange) a vibrant group.

And the observations on the British made me laugh out loud.

Just a joy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Davidson VINE VOICE on 8 July 2014
Format: Paperback
Most of the novels that I read these days are historical novels, a genre that I enjoy. However I've read some poor ones lately centring on the 1956 Hungarian Uprising and the unravelling of the Austro-Hungarian Empire , but "An Englishman in Madrid" , based around the start of the Spanish Civil War, was reasonably impressive. The plot revolves around an English art expert who arrives in Madrid to value a Duke's art collection.However he ends up getting out of his depth as this enterprise leads him into danger once he becomes involved with the local fascists. His inability to keep it zipped up also leads him into various awkward and compromising situations with regards to the fairer sex. He has a predilection for both poor teenage prostitutes and equally young aristocratic women. His adventures also bring him to the attention of the Spanish authorities and the British embassy , not to mention Soviet agents. As the incipient Spanish Civil War draws closer , this story plunges the reader into the heart of the conspiracies and intrigues leading up to this conflict. Most of the characters are likeable and the book is decently enough written, given that it is translated from the original Spanish. There is a good storyline , with plenty of thrills and suspense and if you're into politics and history , you will appreciate the insights that the book provides into this interesting period.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By William Jordan on 16 May 2013
Format: Hardcover
Anthony Whitelands arrives in Madrid in 1936 to value a painting or paintings owned by an aristocratic family with Falangist leanings. He sleeps with three women, is trailed by various spies and runs some risk of his own life, and generally samples the delights of life in the very uncertain political climate of the day.

This is done with a light touch, but also tackles some serious themes in Spanish history. I did enjoy reading it - particularly as the plot starts to unfold with great pace in the second half of the novel.

That said I have enjoyed even more other, less serious, works of Mendoza, notably No Word From Gurb - with comes with all the farce you could wish for and without the Spanish historical leanings. For a work comparable to this, but perhaps more revealing historically and also more amusing, there is the same author's A Light Comedy, I would say.

Definitely recommendable to other readers, however!
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By Charles on 14 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Unusual but most characters seemed rather superficial
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Format: Paperback
Never judge a book by the cover! This looked like it would be a good read but was one of the worst books I've ever read- no redeeming features at all.
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By C. Thomson on 27 Jun 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had heard good things about this book and was looking forward to reading it. Sadly it did not meet up to expectations. I felt it was badly translated- or rather, inapproriately translated, where English figures of speech seemed to jar in the Spanish setting. I found the 'hero' insufferable! Friends who persevered to the end said it improved after a flat bit in the middle, but I gave up long before then. Not like me , but life is too short to labour over a book like this.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Did not enjoy this book, story line complicated, switched from person to person and plot was confusing.
Too bad because I usually find the period around the Spanish Civil war very interesting.
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