AN INDEPENDENT AND SCOTSMAN TRAVEL BOOK OF THE YEAR At once personal and far-reaching, Granada is an epic journey through the soul of this most iconic of cities.
AN INDEPENDENT TRAVEL BOOK OF THE YEAR
A TELEGRAPH TRAVEL BOOK OF THE YEAR
Yearning for a change, Steven Nightingale took his family to live in the ancient Andalucian city of Granada. But as he journeyed through its hidden courtyards, scented gardens and sun-warmed plazas, Steven discovered that Granada's present cannot be separated from its past, and began an eight-year quest to discover more.
Where once Christians, Muslims and Jews lived peacefully together and the arts and sciences flourished, Granada also witnessed brutality: places of worship razed to the ground, books burned, massacre and anarchy. In the 1600s the once-populous city was reduced to 6,000 who lived among rubble. In the next three centuries, the deterioration worsened, and the city became a refuge for anarchists; then during the Spanish Civil War, fascism took hold.
Literary and sensual, Steven Nightingale produces a portrait of a now-thriving city and the joy he discovered there, revealing the resilience and kindness of its people, the resonance of its gardens and architecture and the cyclical nature of darkness and light in the history of Andalucia. At once personal and far-reaching, Granada is an epic journey through the soul of this most iconic of cities.
This isn't a conventional piece of flit lit by an expat intent on sending up the locals while tending to his smallholding. From sensual celebration of the garden in his carmen, Nightingale moves on to scholarly consideration of the place of the garden in Moorish culture, the history of the barrio beyond it, and then the glories of Al-Andalus, visiting 'provinces of mind and experience' from medicine to music. - The Telegraph
An exuberant and beautifully written book and as packed with information as a pomegranate is with seeds. Steven Nightingale possesses a keen tactile sense of place; his approach is refreshingly sensuous. He delights in the colours, the smells, the voices of Granada; he appreciates the city's contours with his fingertips as well as his eyes. His chapter on the Alhambra is especially fine... we feel the effort he puts in and his resulting delight. So, too, his discussions of Andalusian music are especially moving. The family takes an unabashed, quite sensuous, pleasure in the hospitality, the conversation, the food and wine they share with their new friends. Much of the charm resides in the fact he often seems to observe Granada through the wide-open eyes of his young daughter. This gives his explorations a spontaneity and freshness. - The Wall Street Journal
His book is not only a memoir of one family's communion with a dream house, it's the unearthing