Roads to Santiago: Detours and Riddles in the Lands and History of Spain

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9780151001972: Roads to Santiago: Detours and Riddles in the Lands and History of Spain

Derived from studies and sketches made between 1979 and 1992, this book covers ten centuries of Spain's history - its politics, its architecture, its climate and its people. Cees Nooteboom won the European Literature Prize in 1993 for "The Following Story", and won the Dutch Bordewijk Prize and the Pegasus Prize for Literature for "Rituals". He is also the author of "In the Dutch Mountains".

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Review:

In recent years, Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom has developed a reputation as a major European author and, in this magical evocation of 1,000 years of Spanish history, this is shown to be more than critical hyperbole. Through his erudition and graceful writing, Nooteboom has produced the definitive work on one of the most over- worked literary pilgrimages of our times, the journey to Santiago de Compostela.

The book is never a straightforward journey, but instead distils Nooteboom's lifelong fascination for Spain through some remarkable meditations on life, art, history and religion. There is scarcely a page which is not thought-provoking. The passages on Velazquez and Seville-based artist Zurbarán are wonderful, as are the author's meditations on the paradoxes and discords within Spain, his thoughts on the effects of the barren plains on the Spanish soul and his ruminations on the history of conquest and loss which the country has undergone. Most remarkable of all is Nooteboom's ability to convey the sense that, though time has progressed, it is people, attitudes and customs which have stayed still: "Sometimes it is as if Spain is out to preserve the past for the rest of Europe."

Roads to Santiago is a book which everyone with more than passing interest in Spain ought to read. --Toby Green

Review:

"Invites the reader to share the excitement, experiences, even food, that the author has encountered while weaving his way through [Spain] slowly and deliciously . . . Mr. Nooteboom lingers in out-of-the-way places most tourists miss."-The New York Times Book Review "Nooteboom plunges fervently into the fabric of Spain itself."-San Francisco Chronicle

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