From Publishers Weekly
In this pared-down version of his acclaimed Barcelona (1992), art critic Hughes traces Barcelonas progress from a burgeoning port city to the booming Catalan capital that roughly 1.5 million people call home today. Hughess portrait chronologically flutters from one century to another, shedding light on the citys cryptic history in a way very few non-Catalans can. Hughes treats the city as if its his own, and his critiques are justified and insightful, drawing on personal anecdotes, excerpts of Catalan manuscripts and anti-Castilian decrees. Its not the details of cataclysmic events like the plague of 1348 or the bitter suffocation forced upon Cataluña by Franco that make Hughess book worthwhile, but rather the accounts of small events that transformed "one enormous ashtray, covered in a mantle of grime and grit" into what is now an affable, colorful, modern hub. The author poetically weaves politics, food, architecture, sport, myths and music into a striking depiction of the great Catalan seaport. 8 b&w photos, 1 map.
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magazine art critic Hughes writes a passionate love song to his chosen place; this book provides an eloquent introduction to Catalan culture and cuisine while whetting the traveler's appetite for the glories of a great world city." —Star Tribune
"By turns funny, cutting and magisterial." —San Francisco Chronicle