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Books on Spain

A round-up and review of Books on Spain. Some old some new, fiction and non-fiction. Sometimes brief, sometimes in depth but never negative. If I don’t like it, I won’t review it!

Drunk in Charge of a Foreign Language
17 October 2014 @ 08:47

A more light-hearted offering this time and a book which made me laugh out loud many times. Matt Rothwell’s book is a comic travelogue of his extended camping trip around Spain. His love of the country and the people clearly shows through and is a welcome change from the plethora of tales of travellers who just seem to want to moan about the country and its people. 

He recounts with great fun and a warm, self effacing humour, his encounters with the locals and fellow travellers alike. His descriptions of the places he visits are clear and vivid but he maintains balance and never becomes lost unnecessary detail. For all its length, both as a journey and the book, it still seems like a whirlwind tour as his travels take him to many places just off the usual tourist maps. 

Much of the humour arises from Matt’s encounters with the locals where they are always portrayed in a warm, positive way and neatly avoids the usual travelogue clichés of stereotyped foreigners.  A running gag throughout the book is his struggle to find a bank who will deal with his particularly obscure type of traveller’s cheques. Here again, we are shown his self effacing style as the cause of his difficulties is never presented as the fault of uncooperative locals but clearly as the advisor who persuaded him to carry that brand of cheques.

More good natured humour comes from his struggles to learn the language and the many mistakes made, often with unexpected consequences. We share his frustrations as his neatly constructed itinerary is constantly disrupted by weather or a desire for the comfort of a hotel as opposed to planned campsites. 

The book presents an unexpected twist at one point when his wife suddenly announces she wants a divorce halfway round the tour and heads for home. Matt is faced  with a dilemma but in true explorer spirit he is not going to let this turn disrupt his careful planning and sets out to continue his travels alone. The touch of pathos that shows through the following chapters is lifted by his incorrigible sense of humour as his determination to see through his mission continues in true British style.

Overall a very funny and well written book that clearly shows Matt’s love of Spain and its people. Well recommended.

Drunk in Charge of a Foreign Language (The Diary of a Spanish Misadventure). Published by Ametralladora 2007. 



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