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As I Walked Out Through Spain in Search of Laurie Lee Paperback – 26 Jun 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Silverwood Books; 1st Edition edition (26 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781322074
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781322079
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 379,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Paul Murphy has a long and deep personal connection with Spain which gives his reflections a good deal of authority. His writing style is sensitive and full of pleasing images and unlike many such books, he 'inhabits' his subject." Philip Marsden, author of 'The Bronski House; The Levelling Sea.' // "Paul Murphy's book is a wonderfully readable narrative and a highly original approach to the 'footsteps' genre. It works beautifully - " - Valerie Grove, author of 'Laurie Lee: The Well-Loved Stranger' (Re-issued in May 2014 as 'The Lives and Loves of Laurie Lee)'.

About the Author

Paul Murphy is a writer with a special interest in Spain, its culture and people. He has lived, studied and worked in Spain and lived through seminal events such as the death of Franco in 1975 and an attempted coup in 1981, orchestrated in part by his landlord at the time, a Lieutenant General in the Spanish army. In 2014 Paul published his first book As I Walked Out Through Spain in Search of Laurie Lee. It is the first of a trilogy of books about Spain and Writers. Paul has a BA Honours in Spanish Studies and in November 2012 was awarded an MA (Distinction) in Professional Writing from University College Falmouth. Paul studied with the Faber Academy Creative Writing School. Paul speaks Spanish fluently. He spent two years as a marketing advisor to Ty Newydd: Wales National Writers' Centre. September 2012 saw the publication of 26 Treasures, commissioned by the V&A museum. Paul contributed along with writers such as Alexander McCall Smith and Andrew Motion. The Anthology won the Literature Award in The British Book Design and Production Awards 2013. Paul's writing has appeared in The Guardian. He has spoken at the British Library about Spain in the 1930s. He has recently written a profile of the writer Malcolm Bradbury as part of Unesco 2013 City of Literature in partnership with the University of East Anglia Creative Writing School. He writes regularly for Travel and Lifestyle magazines.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
...or something like that, meaning to work a problem out by walking, could be the subtitle of this book. Numbed in the wake of a divorce, the author tries to re-connect with his present and past life using the journey made by his favourite writer, Laurie Lee, as a template. The book which has emerged combines strands of personal history, national history and the search for a literary hero with a travelogue and musings on the current Spanish social and political life. These are carefully balanced so that the book never gets bogged down in any one of them and they often serve to comment on or complement one another. I particularly enjoy travel writing and these were my favourite parts of this book, (the interspersed re-imaging of what other people thought or felt didn't work so well for me). I found myself hooked on the narrative and finished reading it in four or five sittings, which is quite rare for me. It's also whetted my appetite to read up more on Spain and to re-read some Laurie Lee books.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Two men at very different stages of life travel across Spain. Laurie Lee was just 19 and starting life, PD is 56 and ending a marriage, escaping the 'invisible period'. The book has an emotional core but is really a study and reflection on Spanish history, culture and politics resonant with details that bring the country to life. As a lover of Spain, I lapped it up.
I particularly liked the aspects of Spanish life - the religious customs, snippets of language, the food – and the search for 'duende' - the soul of Spain. The romance of the landscape is tempered by aspects of modern Spain with rising unemployment, and the possibility of breaking the pact of silence around Franco's rule. The book sometimes disappears down a rabbit hole of detail, but it meanders back, like the author's walk itself, and the book is all the richer for it.

"I do not want to be that man, the solitary man halfway up the hill never destined to reach the top"
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Format: Paperback
When P D Murphy's job and marriage come to an unexpected end, almost simultaneously, in his mid-50s, he seeks to redeem himself from the subsequent grief and depression by reverting to an earlier love, the author and poet Laurie Lee, whose waling tour of Spain he recreates hoping to find himself along the way, and to gain the impetus to return to England to make a fresh start with his life.

Unlike Lee, Murphy already knows Spain well before his trip begins, is fluent in Spanish, and has a number of friends he can visit along the way. He carries with him a symbolic seashell, as did pilgrims to Santiago de Compostella (he is a lapsed Catholic) to signify his philosophical pilgrimage. His knowledge of the Spanish Civil War and its injustices and barbarity incense him.

He follows Lee's route and principles as far as possible, staying in low budget rooms and keeping off the modern tourist track. He shares his reflections along the way, not only on Spain and Lee, but on how his own life has taken shape.

Murphy is a thoughtful, compassionate and honest writer, much more self-searching and inward-looking than Lee (no doubt partly because he is 30+ years old than Lee at the time of his journey). He is at once diffident and open about his feelings - an engaging combination.

Despite my only experience of Spain outside of books being a city break in Barcelona, I was as engaged with Murphy's descriptions as I was with Lee's. Inevitably they're not quite as poetic, but Murphy is a precise and lyrical writer who chooses his words and phrases them very carefully without his writing ever seeming contrived.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An intriguing celebration of the Laurie Lee centenary I learnt a lot of Spanish history from this eminently readable book.
It has made me want to visit parts of Spain that I do not know at the moment, although I doubt if I will do as much foot slogging
as the author! This first book holds promise for the future.
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Format: Paperback
Should you have a particular interest in the catastrophe of twentieth century Spain, or Laurie Lee, or the writer's craft, or more generally in the exploration of personal failure and re-invention, then you are likely to be fully engaged by Paul Murphy's account of his journey through the Peninsular. Several tributaries converge in this intriguing torrent of memory, analysis and emotion. Paul invites his readers to dwell on past failures and on the dangers of denying the past, on new beginnings, and on the art of the successful writer, all against the backdrop of the life of Laurie Lee. I particularly enjoyed the interviews; Paul manages to offer a wide variety of often contradictory perspectives on contemporary Spain, which reveal the conflict and pain of this still troubled nation.
Recommended reading!
Paul Morrissey
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Format: Paperback
I read this book whilst on a cruise to the Mediterranean. My ports of call were mainly in Spain. I find it exciting to prepare for a visit to a country by taking a book along to get me in the mood and took a novel on bull leapers with me on a visit to Knossos one year and stories from St. Paul when visiting Ephesus. P D Murphy's book skillfully weaves the romance and passion of Spain with the life and loves of Laurie Lee and the life and loves and emotional dilemmas of PD Murphy's own life. I found the book absorbing, moving and a great travelling companion.
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