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Homage to Barcelona [Paperback]

Colm Toibin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Paperback £6.29  
Paperback, July 1994 --  

Book Description

July 1994
A personal evocation of the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona, considered by some to be the fashionable city of the 90s. First built by 14th-century merchants and rebuilt by Catalan nationalists five centuries later, Barcelona is the centre of Catalan culture. The author describes the architecture, art, churches, museums, boulevards and port life of this culturally rich city which has thrived on the presence of so many artists, architects and musicians. Art and politics are brought together as the abyss of the Civil War approaches and the city's suffering is seen through the eyes of those who were involved. It culminates in the terrible end which Franco's army brought to the hopes and dreams of the Catalans. The author also wrote "Walking Along the Border" and "The South".
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; New edition edition (July 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671713744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671713744
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,243,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Colm Tóibín was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of six novels including The Blackwater Lightship, The Master both of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize and Brooklyn which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Costa Novel Award, and an earlier collection of stories, Mothers and Sons.

Product Description


"'Colm Toibin writes prose of a heartbreaking beauty' Hilary Mantel, Daily Telegraph" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Colm Tóibín was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of five novels, most recently The Master which was shorlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize. His non-fiction includes Bad Blood, Homage to Barcelona and The Sign of the Cross. His work has been translated into seventeen languages. He lives in Dublin. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Homage to this memoir of Barcelona 15 July 2004
By Cathy
I read this book in 1994 while working on a rural development project in El Salvador. I had never been to Barcelona and that post-war time in El Salvador was hard. There was violence and the threat of violence. There was brutality and silence and ignorance and poverty and hardship and want and illiteracy.
Starved of English-language reading material, or indeed, any reading material at all, I fell upon Homage to Barcelona by Toibin. I didn't start it with any great anticipation but by the end of it I almost had to tie myself down to prevent me running to the airport and boarding the next plane for Barcelona.
I read the bit about the bar where the old man and his sons and grandsons served up hams and sherries and wines, where there were wooden barrels and I cried for that city I had never visited.
When I did get to go to Barcelona I made sure I had the book with me and enjoyed re-reading it in all the places it mentions. I felt I knew the city with the knowledge contained within the book at my disposal.
This is a really great book and fitting homage to a really great city.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book About a Great City 15 July 2002
By A Customer
In advance of a recent trip to Barcelona, was scouring bookshops for suitable volumes to take, and loathe to take Robert Hughes' heavier tome (in both weight and subject matter) was pleased to find this lovely short volume. Colm Toibin has many years' experience from living on-and-off in the city and his love for it (and exasperation at times) shines through. Presents the city in its context as the capital of a region yearning for autonomy, and dissects its relationship with Spain as a whole, with good, brief chapters on politics and history. The greater part explores the artistic personalities which I am particularly interested in, namely Picasso, Miro and the ubiquitous Gaudi. The above description sounds dry, in fact the prose is unpretentious and easy to read. Highly recommended.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting read spoilt by poor research 10 Dec 2008
I enjoyed this book, and even though I live in Barcelona I learned a lot more about the city than I knew before reading the book. Toibín writes well but his book, at least the Picador edition that I read, is very poorly researched, and the proofreading is quite disastrous. I noted literally dozens of inconsistencies, misspellings and outright errors and impossibilities (Miró was born in Tarragona province, page 98, and was also born in 1893 in Passeig del Crèdit, in the centre of Barcelona, according to page 80). I hope that subsequent editions eliminated these errors (which I pointed out to the publisher, without acknowledgement) because the book has plenty of merit, and I suppose that most of the people reading the book will be unaware of most the inconsistencies and wrong spelling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect primer for Barcelona and Catalonia 28 Oct 2007
By Chris Pearson VINE VOICE
A slim volume that is an excellent introduction to Catalonia, its cities, history, artists and culture.

It isn't an historical essay,or writer's indulgence, but just a collection of well-written and easy-to-read chapters that you can pick off in any order, and get more context and detail than any Visitor's Guide can offer.

Why 4 stars? Because whilst this book stands the test of time ( this is the 2001 revision of a 1990 publication), the chapter on 'Nightclubbing' doesn't.

But don't let that put you off-buy it for the other 14 alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New proof readers needed 8 Feb 2011
An interesting account of a certain period in Barcelona's history by someone who obviously loves the city. However, it was marred by the numerous mistakes -some of fact but mainly of spelling of Catalan names. More efficient proof reading is needed, I presume.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Complex Barcelona 30 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this just before spending a few days in Barcelona, wanting to know a bit about the city and its history. It was a good choice, left me wanting to find out a lot more.
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