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[Reading] Jan Morris: Spain

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It took ridiculously long to finish this 147-page tiny little book.

(Somehow this never seems to be the case with Chinese books — well, as long as it’s traditional Chinese.)

This is from late Uncle James’s collection, and a Penguin re-issue.  On the cover a Gerald Brenan is quoted to comment “Perhaps the best general book ever written on Spain.” Well, a fact worth noticing is that the book was first published in 1964, which is to say that depicted here is the Spain almost half a century ago.

I can’t decide whether it’s better to visit the cities mentioned in the book first or to read the book first.  The author conjures freely a wide, random range of images from Spain, which aren’t likely to resonate if one hasn’t seen them on the sight.  On the other hand, the book can indeed serve as an introductory book for taking an overview of this country from some varied perspectives, although the author’s British manner of scattering random anecdotal examples for at times trivial points can be mildly irritating (to me).

And while the book was written so long ago, it’s funny that some of the observations of Spaniards seem to hold true still, especially in terms of their incompetence in speaking other languages…


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