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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Homage to this memoir of Barcelona
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...
Published on 15 July 2004 by Cathy

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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting read spoilt by poor research
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...
Published on 10 Dec. 2008 by Marc Samida


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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Homage to this memoir of Barcelona, 15 July 2004
By 
This review is from: Homage to Barcelona (Paperback)
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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50 of 54 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
This review is from: Homage to Barcelona (Paperback)
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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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting read spoilt by poor research, 10 Dec. 2008
By 
Marc Samida (Barcelona, Spain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Homage to Barcelona (Paperback)
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 
CRP - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Homage to Barcelona (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New proof readers needed, 8 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Homage to Barcelona (Paperback)
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 One of those classic texts to read before visiting a city, 3 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Homage to Barcelona (Paperback)
Like 'Venice' by Jan Morris (another classic 'city' text') this book was written some time ago, hence don't use it for bar and restaurant recommendations! However like 'Venice' this book should be enjoyed with the objective of putting the city and its turbulent history into context..and for that purpose its engaging read that sculpts the character of the city and its people before your eyes.I particularly valued the chapter on the city's architectural development between 1880 and 1914, and more to the point how such a fertile ground for the erction of some of the world's most stunning buildings came about. Indeed I mapped out the buildings described and saw them all when I visited the city. A great read about a great city.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good... but not very good..., 7 Mar. 2011
By 
G. D. Busby "Cornish Graham" (Cornwall) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Homage to Barcelona (Paperback)
After spending a couple of days in Barcelona, I encountered this book for sale in the English language section of a bookshop. The reviews on the cover were positive (what a surprise) and I purchased it. It's really good for background material, e.g. read the section on Picasso before visiting the Picasson Museum and, yet, other chapters, such as the one entitled Girona just don't seem up to the mark; in fact, 'Girona' is only a few pages before Colm Toibin discusses another area of Catalonia. So, as a foretaste of what Barcelona can offer: great.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to understand the feel of Barcelona..., 20 May 2012
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This review is from: Homage to Barcelona (Paperback)
This is the first of Colm Toibin's books that I have read and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on more of his work! Toibin is the first author I've read who has managed to describe the city in a way that manages to draw out the real emotion of experiences such as wandering the streets of the medieval centre, visiting old summer haunts of Picasso, or taking part in the crazy fiestas. He writes beautifully.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a beautifully written and really interesting insight into how Barcelona has ..., 19 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Homage to Barcelona (Paperback)
This is a beautifully written and really interesting insight into how Barcelona has become the City it has. Although initially written to coincide with the Barcelona Olympics it has been slightly updated. For me the biggest reward was a far better understanding of the Catalan heritage but Tobin is great on the architecture too. I have already bought two extra copies for friends!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Homage to Barcelona by Toibin, 17 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: Homage to Barcelona (Paperback)
This book is a classic, beautifully written. It's not a "guidebook", of course, but is rich in describing the history of Barcelona and Catalyuna, with sections on major figures such as Gaudi, Picasso, and Miro. Well worth reading and making notes before visiting the city. The author edited the new edition, but it is sometimes unclear how current the sections are.
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Homage to Barcelona
Homage to Barcelona by Colm Toibin (Paperback - 21 May 2010)
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