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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 28 June 2014
Brenan's book provides a comprehensive and rich account of living in the remote Alpujarra region of Andalusia in the twenties.

Written in a direct, lucid and personable style (even to the extent that when he is about to set out a description of the country he suggests to the reader that `those who do not like geography can skip a few pages'), the book covers the history, geology, society, sartorial etiquette - in fact every aspect of living there after WW1. It's a travelogue, autobiography and guidebook all rolled into one.

It's the perfect counterpoint to Chris Stewart's series of books documenting his life there today.

As you read about the remoteness, conditions and welfare of the people in the villages back in the twenties, it's hard to imagine the speed at which the area must have subsequently changed as a result of the impact of the road and transport infrastructure, tourism, the EU, and even the internet that Chris Stewart now enjoys on his isolated farm.

Take a trip back with Brenan, and immerse yourself in Andalusia of old.
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on 7 March 2017
A magical evocation of a time and place long since gone...on finishing the book for the second time in 10years, I felt that I had had an old friend to stay and enjoy reminiscences. A captivating read which I would recommend to anyone with an interest in a bygone time in Spain
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on 4 June 2017
Arrived quickly and of good quality...ready for spain holiday
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on 20 August 2011
Superb book, read all Chris Stewart's books, so far about 4 times each. Got Gerard Brenan's South from Granada, nearly finished second read of it in about one month.
I understand more clearly now a lot of the customs still surviving in Andalusia!
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on 30 June 2011
This is truly a modern classic capturing, as it does, a way of life that has almost but not quite been lost in the 21st century. Simple elegant prose that captures the esence of Spanish village life in the early 20th century.
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on 4 July 2011
I enjoyed this book so much that I had to ration myself, just reading a chapter at a time while I had another book on the go. Of course I may be a little prejudiced as a Spanophile, but I do not remember doing that with any other book. Brenan's writing style and his intimate knowledge of the Alpurra and their people paint a vivid picture of a life style that had existed for millenia but has now largely disappeared. It should delight you whether you know the area or not.
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on 16 January 2003
Intoxicating account of Mr Brenan's arrival and adventures in the Alpujarra, Andalucia in the 1920's. After all these years, his observations and humour still strike a chord. Even if you are visiting the Costa Del Sol on for the sun or golf, read this for an insight to the "real" Spain and its history - just few miles inland.
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on 18 September 2014
Great book. I am three quarters through it by bedtime reading and whilst I can put it down at the end of each chapter I am looking forward avidly to the next. Gerald Brenan moved to Spain in 1920 with very little money and rented a local village house high in the Alpujarra between Granada and the Costa Del Sol to give himself time to study how to write. He learnt well and writes in a matter of fact way about everyday life in the village. The book appears to have been edited in the 1950's and reads like a modern travel book but without any hyperbole and no recommendations for accommodation or food etc. He found the people fascinating and their subsistence ways strange. He was quite an anthropologist and gives great insights into their customs and their courtship routines from a time before tourism. He is occasionally visited by folk from England notably the Bloomsbury set including Lytton Strachey who hated the whole trip and Virginia Wolfe and Bell who loved it. He has a witty style which shows up in his descriptions of people and their frailties. I would be happy to find more of the same from Gerald Brenan.
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on 23 September 2002
This book has to be a must for anyone living or travelling in the southern most parts of Spain. It clearly paints a picture of the life and times of a nation and its people, who in a short period of time have moved from a society living in part, a medievial life style, through to civil war, and the threshold of the modern state Spain has become today.
Brenan tells a tale of village life,and of the people who lived there, and records their folk-lores, customs and history; and also of the visitors to his home, Virginia Wolf, Dora Carrington, Lytton Strachey and Augustus John, and of their connections within the Bloomsbury group.
The places are real, they are still there, and through this book a modern day visitor can travel back in time and with just a little imagination, recreate those the scenes and passions of 80 years ago; of Yeger, the village for severn years his home, and of the cities of Granada and Almeria and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada.
It is a delightful book full of colour and once started you may find very difficult to put down.
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on 25 June 2007
This is a true classic from Gerald Brenan. After WW1 the author was close to breakdown, desperate to experience poetry and literature and the recipient of a small war pension. His solution was to travel to a remote village in the South of Spain, take 2000 books and soak in the atmosphere and learn how to love once again. His journey is understated, educated, intelligent and human.

It is no picture book. It is a true snapshot taken through the eyes of a would-be Bloomsbury boy who had experienced the Empire, the Somme and physical illness and who then decided to actually pay attention to the world sarrounding him.

Brenans description of the personalities, geography, love affairs and society he encounters are glorious to me. There is no vanity or laziness in the writing. As his lifestyle is stripped to necessities so is his writing. Yet it is free and beautiful and evocative in many places. So many modern travel writers try to recreate life as a gaudy, filter-enhanced, postcard picture of the places they are subsidised to visit. Gerald Brenan captures a clear, gentle, colour snap of his life spent in Yegen during a period of time when black and white was all the camera could capture. Perhaps that is the reason it seems to have been so important for him to record it faithfully.
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