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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Actually, it's a great book
It's rare to come across a book that captures the excitement and loneliness of travel and living in a foreign culture as well as this. Not only is it well written, with pace and pathos, but it also depicts a contradictory Spain in social transition, and those who remain firmly on its margins. The book depicts the passionate desperation to fit in with the essence of...
Published on 5 July 2005

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Delusional, self-indulgent drivel
I bought this book after the author was referred to in a news article I was reading about a flamenco flash-mob at a bank in Spain. I was under the impression that the author was some sort of authority on the subject and the book was about the culture and history of flamenco. I bought it and took it with me to read during a three month flamenco dance course in Granada. I...
Published 2 months ago by K.Holland


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Actually, it's a great book, 5 July 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Duende: A Journey In Search Of Flamenco (Paperback)
It's rare to come across a book that captures the excitement and loneliness of travel and living in a foreign culture as well as this. Not only is it well written, with pace and pathos, but it also depicts a contradictory Spain in social transition, and those who remain firmly on its margins. The book depicts the passionate desperation to fit in with the essence of those who, on the face of it, one only has a passing similarity to. Yes it's partly about adolescence and being young - but that's part of the point. However, despite being about real themes this book is light, readable and often funny.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, 2 Dec 2006
By 
Paul Magnussen (Campbell, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Duende: A Journey In Search Of Flamenco (Paperback)
I see the Review Guidelines forbid to me to make remarks directed at other reviewers, so I won't.

What I will do is tell you that I have been the Flamenco correspondent for Classical Guitar magazine for a decade, and for Guitar International for a decade before that; and everything Jason Webster says about Flamenco here seems to me absolutely accurate, with the piffling exception of a couple of misremembered names. (I think the Pedros Habichuela and Pinto should both be Pepes, but that could just be my ignorance).

I agree that if your object is to find out about Flamenco, then this is not the book to read; the classic in that regard is Donn Pohren's The Art of Flamenco.

I also agree that the present book is less about Flamenco than it is about the author, but I don't regard that as an obstacle. What is certain is that he is a born story-teller; and if his narrative ends up portraying him as rather self-centred, at least he has the grace to realise it and the honesty to admit it.

Jason Webster is not the first to have found life in the anglophone world empty, and to have sought its meaning in Flamenco. He is, however, the first (as far as I'm aware) to write such an account after the Spanish way of life changed so drastically (following the death of Franco).

If your budget will run to it, read Gerald Howson's The Flamencos of Cádiz Bay first, and then this. Both are unputdownable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Passion of Flamenco, 21 Nov 2007
By 
E. Kraft (Essex) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Duende: A Journey In Search Of Flamenco (Paperback)
This is an excellent book that all lovers of Spain should read. I consider myself reasonably fluent in Spanish but I can only wonder at the way Jason Webster totally immersed himself in Spain and the world of flamenco - earning the respect of the group to which he attached himself.

He describes beautifully the strange underworld of the true gipsy flamenco artists, searching always for "duende" - the thrill that a particularly well played or sung piece will produce in the audience. Stealing cars, sex, drugs, death and flamenco - all portrayed with a huge lust for life that can only make us wonder. Enjoy.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In search of Duende, 26 Sep 2004
This review is from: Duende: A Journey In Search Of Flamenco (Paperback)
This book was given to me as a gift by someone who knew I had a keen interest in flamenco. From the opening two sentences of the prologue, I knew I would be captivated. Jason Webster, by his very passion for his subject, has managed to achieve something I had always thought impossible. He has written a book which goes as far as it is possible to go in describing what duende is.
If you are already a lover of flamenco I would urge you to read this book - it will underline all that you already know and will give you an insight into the closed world of the Gypsy flamencos which is a rare, delightful, and priceless opportunity. If you are new to flamenco or are just curious about it, Jason's descriptions of its power, beauty, and ability to transport human beings like nothing else on earth will almost certainly spur you into finding out more. And if you couldn't care less about flamenco the book is still so well written that you will be, nevertheless, riveted.
From a personal point of view, the descriptions of his initial experience of duende, albeit without knowing that's what it was, and his subsequent struggle to define it and to seek to recognise it brought back memories of my own long journey of discovery. That he is able to write about it with such style and sense of humour is an unexpected and invaluable bonus. I applaud you, Jason.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Delusional, self-indulgent drivel, 25 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Duende: A Journey In Search Of Flamenco (Paperback)
I bought this book after the author was referred to in a news article I was reading about a flamenco flash-mob at a bank in Spain. I was under the impression that the author was some sort of authority on the subject and the book was about the culture and history of flamenco. I bought it and took it with me to read during a three month flamenco dance course in Granada. I immediately regretted both buying the book and giving it space in my luggage. At times I had to restrain myself from hurling it against the wall. There is nothing about flamenco in the book. At best it is the travel diary of an over-privileged, pseudo-intellectual toff who is deluded enough to think that he is so talented, clever and attractive that he can turn his hand to anything and has mastered the art of flamenco guitar, become an honorary flamenco gitano and been seduced by a beautiful, married flamenco dancer. The equivalent would be a guy who moves to London, pesters a local pub band into giving him a few lessons on the guitar, strums a few bad chords at their gigs, declares himself to be a musical genius and has a grotty affair with his boss's chavvy wife who happens to go to Zumba on a Friday night. If this isn't enough, the portrayal of gitano culture was outrageous, insulting and incorrect. Basically, he ended up hanging round with a bunch of coked-up, joyriding losers because they were the only people in Madrid who would tolerate his irritating company and let him play with them. That is not a representation of gitano culture, just the unfortunate escapades of an immature, gullible fool. I have given this one star because zero wasn't an option. Upon finishing the book I promptly threw it in the bin, lest anyone else be subjected to this badly-written, narcissistic nonsense.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, although not what I was expecting!, 10 Dec 2006
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Duende: A Journey In Search Of Flamenco (Paperback)
I picked up 'Duende' initially because of the beautiful cover and because I have always been attracted to the passion of the flamenco. Although I enjoyed the book, it wasn't quite what I was expecting - it's a bit more of a coming of age story rather than a history or exploration of flamenco.

Webster, having grown tired of his academic life, decides to move to Spain to immerse himself in the culture and learning about flamenco. There follows, a steamy affair with Lola (an older, and married, flamenco dancer), a move to Madrid where he falls in with a gypsy flamenco band and finally a move to Grenada and an unlikely friendship with an older woman.

The only bit I disliked was the graphic description of the bullfight, but this does only last for a couple of pages, so can easily be skipped.

The book is easy to read and enjoyable, but perhaps not the book for you if you are looking for something specifically to do with flamenco.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration to make a move..., 8 Feb 2013
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Absolutely wonderful novel, I've always had a love of Spain and a passion for flamenco.

This has certainly fuelled that passion further. Can't believe I have only just do,discovered Jason Webster's writing I will definitely be reading more by him...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cousin Tiina loved it, 15 Aug 2011
By 
J. Humphrey (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Duende: A Journey In Search Of Flamenco (Paperback)
I bought his book for my wife's cousin who lives in Tallinn. Having read the book in Estonian she wanted to read it in English as well, so all I can say is that it must be good!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Travel Literature, 27 Aug 2008
This review is from: Duende: A Journey In Search Of Flamenco (Paperback)
I'd agree with some of the other reviewers that if you're looking for a real book on flamenco, "Duende" isn't the one for you. The author does refer to some of the pioneers and big names of flamenco and to certain flamenco-related concepts, subjects and styles, but the book is more a piece of travel literature; more about Jason Webster immersing himself in Spanish culture and some of the experiences and people he meets and mixes with whilst living in Spain, learning to play flamenco guitar.

In the book Webber relates how he starts out playing guitar, plays in his first concert and shortly after is forced to flee Madrid when a husband and 'friend' of his discovers the affair Webster has been having with his flamenco dancer wife. There he strikes up a friendship with some gypsies, with whom, besides playing guitar, he becomes involved in drug usage and car theft (only one account of this is given), and prevents a drug dealer from possibly being stabbed to death by one of them. Whether car theft can be considered part of the flamenco lifestyle is, I'd say, questionable. Then he parts company with the gypsies and it's off to Granada, where he makes friends with an elderly English lady and attends a gypsy wedding celebration which almosts goes horribly wrong.

I enjoyed the book immensely and have bought the following two books by Webster, which I also found very good. If you're looking for a book strictly about flamenco, you might be disappointed with this one, but "Duende" in itself is still an excellent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captures the magic of Spain, 22 Sep 2006
By 
K. Edmunds "kazral" (New Romney, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Duende: A Journey In Search Of Flamenco (Paperback)
I was lent this book by some friends who had both read it and loved it. It is as good as the reviews say. As a relatively recent visitor to mainland Spain it echoed my enchantment with Alicante as a wonderful place, and with my love of the Spanish way of life. Jason Webster's style of writing is very accessible and respectful of people's eccentricities. I found it hard to put this book down.
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Duende: A Journey In Search Of Flamenco
Duende: A Journey In Search Of Flamenco by Jason Webster (Paperback - 1 Jan 2004)
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