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South from Granada Paperback – Import, 1963
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I recommend the readers to get some additional information about Brenan in Google. He was not a saint and he does not mention in the book the daughter that he had with a Spanish girl. He took his daughter with him to England and never allowed them to meet again. Brenan is nowadays considered a hero in Yegen because he put the hamlet in the map, but some people still reproach him because of the daughter episode. Great reading!
Brenan writes intelligently and fluidly, and his account is always interesting, whether he is writing about his own personal experiences, or about his neighbors and the local customs of the Albujarra. As he was friends with members of the Bloomsbury circle, the book also contains an account of (separate) visits by Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf.
The following comments on Woolf nicely illustrate Brenan's perspicacity and generosity, two of the qualities that make this memoir so enjoyable to read:
"I want to emphasize Virginia's real friendliness on this occasion and the trouble she took to advise and encourage me, because her recklessness in conversation -- when she was over-excited she talked too much from the surface of her mind -- made some people think that she lacked ordinary sympathies. I was young for my age, and rather earnest. ... She on the other hand was a writer of great distinction, approaching the height of her powers. Yet she and her husband not only concealed the impatience they must often have felt, but treated me as though I was their intellectual equal."
Based on this book, I'm really looking forward to reading Brenan's writing on the Spanish Civil War.
I highly recommend "South from Granada". Readers with an interest in the region might also enjoy Chris Stewart's "Driving over Leemons".