The Tomb in Seville: Crossing Spain on the Brink of Civil War [NOOK Book]


The last work of renowned travel writer Norman Lewis: a thrilling adventure through 1930s Spain on a pilgrimage to the tomb of a Spanish ancestor

In the 1930s, Norman Lewis and his brother-in-law, Eugene Corvaja, journeyed to Spain to visit the family’s ancestral tomb in Seville. Seventy years later, with evocative and engrossing prose, Lewis recounts the trip, taken on ...
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The Tomb in Seville: Crossing Spain on the Brink of Civil War

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The last work of renowned travel writer Norman Lewis: a thrilling adventure through 1930s Spain on a pilgrimage to the tomb of a Spanish ancestor

In the 1930s, Norman Lewis and his brother-in-law, Eugene Corvaja, journeyed to Spain to visit the family’s ancestral tomb in Seville. Seventy years later, with evocative and engrossing prose, Lewis recounts the trip, taken on the brink of the Spanish Civil War.

Witnesses to the changing political climate and culture, Lewis and Corvaja travel through the countryside from Madrid to Seville by bus, car, train, and on foot, encountering many surprises along the way. Dodging the skirmishes that will later erupt into war, they immerse themselves in the local culture and landscape, marveling at the many enchantments of Spain during this pivotal time in its history.
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Editorial Reviews

Dorothy Gallagher
Toward the end of Lewis's long and immensely productive life as a writer and traveler -- ''one of the best writers . . . of our century'' as Graham Greene called him -- his thoughts returned to Spain, and he reworked his first book into The Tomb in Seville before his death in 2003. There is a plot of sorts, but it hardly matters. What matters is the journey, and that Lewis saw everything: the landscape, the people, the poverty, the intimations of war to come, the medieval strangeness of Spain to modern European eyes. In a style that only seems artless, he tells an entranced and entrancing story, beautifully observed, of a young writer's meeting with the people and the country he loved at first sight.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Acclaimed travel writer Lewis (Naples '44; Golden Earth; etc.) died in 2003 at age 93; this is his final book. In it, he recounts traveling through Spain in 1934 with his brother-in-law Eugene Corvaja to find the Corvaja family tomb in Seville. Their plans for a straightforward north-to-south journey, beginning in San Sebasti n, are altered by uprisings foretelling the impending Spanish Civil War. Lewis and Corvaja's ever-changing travel plans lead them on a circuitous route-they wind up going through Portugal-and shape the episodic tone of this memoir, in which each town and encounter provides its own story. Lewis eschews delving into the complex politics of 1930s Spain to focus instead on the social ramifications of the country's political situation. While Corvaja yearns to join the battle for Spain's future, Lewis remains an outsider, with his sharp eye set firmly on observing Spain's people and places. Whether he's capturing the comedy of trying to find a suitable cafe in Madrid while a street fight rages, depicting the isolated wildlife of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains or commenting on the "cheap and cheerful" lives of the farmers' daughters he and Corvaja meet on a train, his well-crafted descriptions are honest and evocative. Lewis and Corvaja eventually find the tomb, but it's been destroyed, which is actually quite fitting, reminding readers that the journey is the story. (Mar. 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this last book before his death in 2003, Lewis amply demonstrates why peers and contemporaries hailed him as one of the finest travel writers in English in the last century. In this story, Lewis and his brother-in-law Eugene visit Spain from England in order to travel to Seville to view the tomb of the Carvaljo family, Spanish ancestors of Lewis's father-in-law, Ernesto (a "Sicilian man of honor"), and report on its condition. It is, as were most of Lewis's 14 other nonfiction works, a travel story; in this case one by a 93-year-old writer recalling situations and events that occurred in 1934. Given that, the imagery from a country on the verge of civil war and of its own holocaust stands out as sharply as in a Robert Capa photograph. It's not just that the author's cogent observations are perfectly preserved, but also that he has so keen a sense of the dimensions of a culture that's deep enough to withstand the misery of senseless war heaped upon what was for many contemporary Spaniards the misery of everyday life. Eugene and Lewis literally stroll through a nascent revolution-scheduled trains are not running; buses pocked with bullet holes may or may not hold to their routes. The only way to cross the street in Madrid without immediately becoming a sniper's target, they quickly learn, is to walk like hordes of other pedestrians with arms fully extended into the air. A necessary 60-mile hike to Zaragoza to pick up ad hoc transport to Seville takes them through stark villages of cave dwellers, as well as mysteriously beautiful oak forests. But everywhere, from the bleakest villages to the grandest of ancient cities, there remains an overriding tradition of hospitality and theinterchange of philosophies over bread and wine. Revolution or not, the pair press on to view the tomb in Seville. Fluidity and economy of style, a wit that crackles as it whispers. Every reader should experience Lewis.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480433267
  • Publisher: Open Road Media
  • Publication date: 7/30/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 150
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Norman Lewis (1908–2003) was one of the greatest English-language travel writers. He was the author of thirteen novels and fourteen works of nonfiction, including Naples ’44, The Tomb in Seville, and Voices of the Old Sea. Lewis served in the Allied occupation of Italy during World War II, and reported from Mafia-ruled Sicily and Vietnam under French-colonial rule, among other locations. Born in England, he traveled extensively, living in places including London, Wales, Nicaragua, a Spanish fishing village, and the countryside near Rome.     
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