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Spain Paperback – 7 Aug 2008
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Spain is Jan Morris's compelling and beautifully written companion to the country: its people, its history - and its character.
About the Author
Jan Morris was born in 1926 of a Welsh father and an English mother, and when she is not travelling she lives with her partner Elizabeth Morris in the top left-hand corner of Wales, between the mountains and the sea. Her books include Coronation Everest, Venice, The Pax Britannica Trilogy (Heaven's Command, Pax Britannica, and Farewell the Trumpets), and Conundrum. She is also the author of six books about cities and countries, two autobiographical books, several volumes of collected travel essays and, more recently, the unclassifiable Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere. A Writer's World, a collection of her travel writing and reportage from over five decades, was published in 2003. Hav, her novel, was published in a new and expanded form in 2006 and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Her most recent book, Contact!, about the people she encountered on her many travels, was published in 2009.
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Top Customer Reviews
One of the most striking of these images occurs near the beginning of the book, where the course of Spanish history is likened to a elevation graph formed by cutting an imaginary slice through the country from coast to coast: climbing steadily to the heights of the Iberian central plateau, before sliding down to the sea again. The historical simile sees the fortunes of the country rising to a pinnacle in the sixteenth century when it was, for a brief period, the richest and most powerful nation on earth. Since then, according to Morris, it's been downhill all the way, and she ends with a question about whether the country's fortunes can rise again.
Recent visitors to that pleasant country might be surprised to read about her uncertainty on this point, but it must be recalled that she was originally writing in 1964 whilst Franco was still in charge, and although the book was updated in 1979, this was only four years after his death - still too soon to be able to spot the improvements in the fortunes of the nation that have occurred since then. However in the end, she turns this difficulty to her advantage, likening efforts at peering into Spain's future to looking at - in the memorable words of Jose Ortega y Gasset - "a cloud of dust, left hanging in the air when a great people went galloping down the highroad of history". Just perfect.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you like Spain, then this is worth a read. Not a travel guide as such, but a good read for the traveller!Published 22 months ago by Trotter
Her sumptuous language draws you in to this amazing country. Makes me want to go back, NOW!
It is a shame there aren't more pages in this book.