Author(s): Laurie LeeDownload
It was 1934 and a young man walked to London from the security of the Cotswolds to make his fortune.He was to live by playing the violin and by labouring on a London building site. Then, knowing one Spanish phrase, he decided to see Spain. For a year he tramped through a country in which the signs of impending civil war were clearly visible. Thirty years later Laurie Lee captured the atmosphere of the Spain he saw with all the freshness and beauty of a young man’s vision, creating a lyrical and lucid picture of the beautiful and violent country that was to involve him
Some Reviews: 381 in Goodreads.com
An absolute classic ! Young man leaves his country home with his violin and travels from Gloucester via the south coast to London where he works for a labourer for a bit and develops some relationships. Then travels down through spain after getting a boat to the north. Very vivid adventures on his way through spain – vivid poverty and culture.. he makes his way playing his fiddle to make money and meets some crazy characters! He ends up in a village near Malaga on the coast and describes the beginnings if the civil war which ends his first stay in Spain.. One does wonder about his memory as he did this in 1934 and write it in the 60s! How much is poetic licence i dont know but it is a fantastic read !
A beautiful, whimsical glimpse into a world on the cusp of change from the point of view of Laurie, a young man who decides that he needs more adventure than the British West Country can offer. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning follows his on foot journey through the wilds of 1930s Spain with descriptions so vivid and colourful and alive that I sometimes had to put the book down and sigh that such places exist. Ultimately the book takes Laurie to the beginning of the Spanish revolution and European war, just as he begins to explore his own understanding of himself and how he fits into the world around him.
Laure Lee’s classic account of walking through Spain is broadcast to mark the centenary of his birth, and is abridged in five episodes by Katrin Williams.
(view spoiler)[1. The author leaves home on a bright Sunday morning, taking
his hazel walking stick, some clothes and a trusty violin.
Destination? It’s London first, then on to.. where?
2. He has arrived in Vigo on a one way ticket. All is new and strange,
yet he soon meets Dona Maria and family – a family full of
merry-making. So, out comes the violin!
3. From Vigo, out across the plains, then Madrid and its various attractions. Which means music, cafes, and some new trousers provided by the lovely
4. Down a white dusty road with orange trees looms Seville. It’s beautiful here and also poor, and there are signs of an armed struggle to come.
5. The author is in Almunecar and civil war begins. He drinks with men
who are fighting the cause, before finding safe passage back to England.
But is this the end of his travels?
Walking, Spain, writing and reading are four of my favourite things.So it doesn’t get much better than reading Laurie Lee’s writings about his walk from Vigo to Almunecar as a young man in the 1930s. It starts as a joyous adventure. The heat of Spain and the energy of youth inform every page. Towards the end it becomes more serious.
This is a great passage, capturing several flavours of the book.Lee is in Andalusia at the start of the Civil War.
“Some girls we knew had been gathering poppies in the field, and now they came down the path towards us, walking slowly in the heat, the red flowers wilting at their breasts, looking as though their bodies had been raked by knives.
An hour or so later we returned by another path and found two children standing under the bridge, They stood stiffly, holding hands, staring at the figure of a man who lay sprawled on the river bank.We recognised him as a local Falangist ..he had been shot through the head, and lay staring at the children, flies gathering around the mouth.”
Writing years after the fact (this book was published in 1969), Laurie Lee tells of his departure on foot from his childhood home in the Cotswolds in 1934, age 19; a summer spent busking, playing his violin in coastal tourist towns; a winter doing unskilled construction work in London; and his travels on foot across Spain in 1935 and 1936. Why this should seem relevant or interesting now is not clear, but Lee’s writing is just plain gorgeous. He does have adventures – including encounters with wolves; heat stroke; high-altitude snow; and the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. But the main attraction is the characters he meets, and his descriptions of the landscape itself. It’s hard to know how much Lee adjusted his memories for effect, but in any event, the effect is really beautiful, and cheering to imagine the freedom of walking across a foreign country, relying on one’s violin and the hospitality of strangers.
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