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Sacred Sierra: A Year on a Spanish Mountain Paperback – 1 Apr 2010
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"Webster has the endearing writer's knack of making us laugh and weep along with him...written in the sympathetic tradition of Chris Stewart's best-selling Driving Over Lemons, but is even better" (Sunday Telegraph)
"Discursive and appealingly conversational...an inspiring account" (Daily Telegraph)
"Webster's style is engaging and elegiac" (Independent on Sunday)
"Webster is a clever, hugely readable interpreter of Spain. He is also irrepressible: his work is a master class in involvement...this deserves to be - and undoubtedly will be - one of the most successful books about Spain this year" (Julian Evans Independent)
"Full of romanticism, comedy mishaps and colourful characters, it makes for a deeply personal and highly personable account of one life-changing year" (Sunday Telegraph)
'He has a natural empathy for people and their culture ... Webster makes it sound utterly seductive' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
Having lived in Valencia itself, and tired of the heat and the noise, Jason and Salud decide the time is right to buy an old farm (a 'mas' in the local language) and see if they can live the good life in the mountains. But most of the mas have been abandoned as people left for the city in search of an easier life, and there are many perils of living on the mountains - not least the wild boar and the hunters who roam across even private property in order to keep them under control.
Sacred Sierra follows Jason and Salud through their first year on the mountain. We meet their neighbours, a colourful bunch of characters who live on the mountain. One is the fastest thing on crutches; another lives like a hermit further up the mountain and tells stories during the week - but on the weekend his wife comes to visit. All of these are beautifully and intriguingly rendered, and make for a good read.
But it was Jason's details about the plant life in and around the mas that really captured my imagination. There are olive and almond trees, all neglected, that he attempts to bring back into cultivation, rejoicing in even the tiniest harvest of their own nuts and olive oil. He plants a vegetable patch at the back of the house and embarks on an ambitious truffle tree project, both of which suffer from the attentions of the wild boar.
There's bee keeping adventures, mushroom foraging and ways to cook snails. And between each chapter there are renditions of Spanish stories - folk lore from the past.
Enthralling, fascinating and informative, this is one 'travalogue' which shows you a lovely slice of life from a corner of Spain which is normally kept hidden, away from the glare of the well-known 'Costas'.
I hope that in time there is a sequel to this, if so I will certainly be buying it.
Whilst there are similarities to the wonderful Chris Stewart 'Lemons...'/Annie Hawes 'Olives...' trilogies (if you enjoy this book but haven't read those sets, GET THEM NOW!) Jason Webster is his own man, forging a path of writing that combines elements of diary, story-telling and acute observation, weaving the whole into a well-formed narrative following the seasons of the land that he shares with the mountains, animals and plant-life, all of which he acknowledges has long existed before him and will long outlive him, too.
As with his earlier boooks, he has a knack for spotting, questioning and searching elements of indigenous life and experience, taking the reader on a discovery tour of all that surrounds him. Using ancient moorish texts and local wisdom to guide him, he sets out to live not ON the land but WITH the land, existing in harmony and tandem with all that survives the harsh weather on the sierra. With other writers what might have been incongruous, he intersperses more daily routines of planting and harvesting with tales and talk with which the locals infuse and enthuse him.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A soulful, witty and compassionate account of a travel writer's year living on a rugged farm in the mountains of Spain. Read morePublished 3 months ago by J. Zada
Atmospheric account of starting a new life on an old mountain farm. Well written and informative.
The trees and plants on the mountain are well described, and their history... Read more
Now we know why so many Spanish are keen to abandon the mountain way of life. Especially good for those wanting to escape modern life or are natural hermits. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Jez
Interesting - if you like Spain, and liked Driving over Lemons,you'll like this.Published 22 months ago by Elizabeth Jane Lampard
I enjoyed this book for the simple reason that Jason never mentions money once. So many people that try to build a new life abroad hit money problems and the stress it brings and... Read morePublished on 6 Feb. 2015 by Kenneth
Neither travel writing nor expat observation but an exploration of culture history mythology and folk religion of a little known region based on the calendar of Agrarian life the... Read morePublished on 8 Jan. 2015 by Angusian
Boring book, the author tries too hard to make it a good book but it lacks a flow. Also the various Spannish essays that pepper the book are extremley boringPublished on 26 Sept. 2014 by Roger Brown
Loved this book. Absolutely loved it. Webster loves Spain and knows it well. If want you want is not a cute story of someone pouring money into rebuilding a Spanish ruin but a... Read morePublished on 4 July 2014 by Anne Trabenna