This was picked by someone else for our book group. I found it a shoddy and ill thought out piece of work, neither one thing nor another, and deeply unclear in places - down to the unhelpful map. At some points - for example with his detailed description of his friend Kiki - I felt he was simply adding to the word count. In places I became even more irritated, suspecting that his descriptions of the tragedies of the period were mostly trying to add gravitas to a very slight book. The retelling of slaughter, tortures and massacres may masquerade as sensitivity and history, but it cannot replace them. For an interesting account of a personal journey, physical or psychological, or a comprehensible account of the civil war in Spain and its aftermath, you would certainly have to look elsewhere.