Roads to Santiago: Detours and Riddles in the Lands and History of Spain

Overview

A modern-day pilgrimage through Spain in a cultural meditation no sophisticated traveler should be without.

Roads to Santiago is an evocative travelogue through the sights, sounds, and smells of a little known Spain-its architecture, art, history, landscapes, villages, and people. And as much as it is the story of his travels, it is an elegant and detailed chronicle of Cees Nooteboom's thirty-five-year love affair with his adopted second country. He presents a world not visible ...

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Overview

A modern-day pilgrimage through Spain in a cultural meditation no sophisticated traveler should be without.

Roads to Santiago is an evocative travelogue through the sights, sounds, and smells of a little known Spain-its architecture, art, history, landscapes, villages, and people. And as much as it is the story of his travels, it is an elegant and detailed chronicle of Cees Nooteboom's thirty-five-year love affair with his adopted second country. He presents a world not visible to the casual tourist, by invoking the great spirits of Spain's past-El Cid, Cervantes, Alfonso the Chaste and Alfonso the Wise, the ill-fated Hapsburgs, and Velazquez. Be it a discussion of his trip to the magnificent Prado Museum or his visit to the shrine of the Black Madonna of Guadalupe, Nooteboom writes with the depth and intelligence of an historian, the bravado of an adventurer, and the passion of a poet.

Reminiscent of Robert Hughes's Barcelona, Roads to Santiago is the consummate portrait of Spain for all readers.

About the Author:

Cees Nooteboom, one of Holland's most popular and most translated authors, has written eleven volumes of travel articles and essays. His previous books include The Following Story, winner of the 1993 European Prize, Rituals, and In the Dutch Mountains. He lives in Amsterdam.

From "one of the greatest modern novelists" A.S. Byatt--winner of the 1993 European Literary Prize--comes a collection of 25 masterful essays on the landscape, art, and history of Spain. More than a travelogue, The Road to Santiago is an elegant and richly detailed chronicle of Nooteboom's 35-year love affair with his adopted second country. 10,000 print.

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Editorial Reviews

Colm Toibin
An exemplary travel book, the result of 40 years wandering in provincial Spain...In Spain, the Romanesque churches stand in out-of-the-way places, they are graceful and understated...If novelists were churches, Nooteboom would be Romanesque. Nooteboom ranks with Gerald Brenan, Ian Gibson, and Robert Hughes as outsiders who have written great books about Spain this century. His book has the odd capacity to make you change your life, or at least consider doing so. These journeys, this way of traveling-slow, meditative, solitary, full of knowledge-this is how we all should travel.
The Washington Post
NY Times Book Review
This book invites the reader to share the excitement, experiences, even food, that the author has encountered while weaving his way, slowly and deliciously, toward the tomb of St. James...It is here, in out-of-the-way places most tourists miss, that Mr. Nooteboom lingers, chatting with peasants, contemplating local works of art, savoring simple culinary delights and thinking, always thinking...Nooteboom appears as something of a Dutch Rousseau, a solitary traveler caught in an extended reverie, a dreamer for whom every monument, every work of art transforms itself into a memory palace that unlocks Spain's history.
Library Journal
In this series of essays, Nooteboom (The Following Story, LJ 8/94), one of Holland's most popular and translated authors, ventures through what he calls his "adopted country," from Barcelona to Santiago. Detours are what Nooteboom delights in, and true to form he takes the reader through detours of monasteries; art galleries; La Mancha in search of Don Quixote and Dulcinea; the Prado museum in Madrid, where he waxes eloquently about Velzquez and Nooteboom's favorite, Zurburn; and churches and courtyards in cities and villages once protected by their geography and now isolated in the empty plains of the Meseta. The strength of Nooteboom's book is in his lyrical descriptions of Spain, a country he believes has never been quite a part of Europe. Some knowledge of European history is required to appreciate his work fully. Recommended for large public and academic libraries or where there is demand for literary travel books.David Schau, Kanawha Cty. P.L., Charleston, W. Va.
From the Publisher
"Invites the reader to share the excitement, experiences, even food, that the author has encountered while weaving his way through [Spain] slowly and deliciously . . . Mr. Nooteboom lingers in out-of-the-way places most tourists miss."-The New York Times Book Review
"Nooteboom plunges fervently into the fabric of Spain itself."-San Francisco Chronicle
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156011587
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 2/21/2000
  • Language: Dutch
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,400,769
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

CEES NOOTEBOOM was born in 1933 in The Hague. He has published nine novels and over a dozen collections of travel writing, including Roads to Santiago. He lives in Amsterdam and Spain.

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Table of Contents

I Through Aragon to Soria 3
II A Journey across Names and Ages 16
III A World of Death and History 27
IV A Land of Hidden Treasures 38
V Not Yet in Santiago 49
VI A Queen Does Not Laugh: Diego Velasquez in the Prado 67
VII Whispers of Gold and Brown and Grey 82
VIII In the Footsteps of Don Quixote - the Roads of La Mancha 94
IX A Little History 107
X Kings and Dwarfs 119
XI The Black Virgin in Her Golden Grotto 130
XII A Moment in the Memory of God 149
XIII Winter Days in Navarre 159
XIV Walter Muir Whitehill 172
XV Perhaps the Dove Knows 182
XVI Kings, Saints and Heretics 194
XVII The Past is Always There, and Yet It Isn't 207
XVIII A Riddle for Creon 220
XIX The Valley of Silence 228
XX I Have Pledged Myself to Spain 244
XXI The Landscape of Machado 261
XXII From Lorca to Ubeda, Dreams of an Afternoon 273
XXIII Splendour in the Gardens of al-Andalus 283
XXIV On to the End of Time 295
XXV Arrival 308
Index 344
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