Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Spain and writers

Just back from the Costa del Concrete. a shock after an absence of 47 years. Churriana, once a tiny village from which one could walk a couple of miles to a deserted beach, is now all part of the urban sprawl. Then it was Gerald Brenan's home and I used to talk to him daily over a few months. We went to the same dreadful public school 50 years apart during which time nothing had changed - beatings, cold baths etc. He told me the trenches in WWI were easier to deal with. For anyone who doesn't know his books, South From Granada and The Face Of Spain are musts. As is The Spanish Temper by his friend VS Pritchett. Earlier than these classics, go back to Borrow and Richard Ford. For a brilliant contemporary novel about the aftermath of the civil war, read Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas and of course Pan's Labyrinth is a properly 'fantastic' film in all senses.

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