Voices of the Old Sea

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Overview

After WW II Norman Lewis returned to Spain and settled in the remote fishing village of Farol, on what is now Costa Brava. VOICES OF THE OLD SEA describes his three successive summers in that almost medieval community where life revolves around the seasonal sardine catches, Alcade's bar and satisfying feuds with neighboring villages.

It's lucky Lewis was there when he was. Reason is that Spain was being discovered by its neighbors in a more prosperous northern Europe, and the ...

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Overview

After WW II Norman Lewis returned to Spain and settled in the remote fishing village of Farol, on what is now Costa Brava. VOICES OF THE OLD SEA describes his three successive summers in that almost medieval community where life revolves around the seasonal sardine catches, Alcade's bar and satisfying feuds with neighboring villages.

It's lucky Lewis was there when he was. Reason is that Spain was being discovered by its neighbors in a more prosperous northern Europe, and the tourist tide flowed inexorably over the old ways of the town and its inhabitants. Today, without these recollections, they would be dead and beyond recall.

"Norman Lewis has caught the helpless, unwitting, often foolish but always hopeful village in its dying summers, and saved the tragedy with sublime comedy." (Observer)

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Lewis relocated to Spain from England after World War II, taking up residence in the small village of Farol. This 1984 volume chronicles his early years there. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786716906
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 2/9/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,091,083
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Norman Lewis was one of the greatest travel writers in the English language. He is the author of thirteen novels and fourteen works of nonfiction, including The Tomb in Seville and Naples ’44 (both published by Carroll & Graf). His other books include A Dragon Apparent; Golden Earth; and The Honoured Society, a nonfiction study of the Sicilian Mafia. Norman Lewis died in 2003 at age ninety-three.

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  • Posted August 10, 2013

    Voices of the Old Sea by Norman Lewis is an account of his time

    Voices of the Old Sea by Norman Lewis is an account of his time in village of Farol on the Costa Brava in Spain during the 1950s. Lewis is the author of many travel books and was particularly fascinated by primitive cultures in the modern world. He wrote on Indonesia, tribes in India, and the effect of missionary work in Latin America. Lewis spends three summers in Farol and documents his time there. Usually it is fiction that requires you to suspend your disbelief; here it is non-fiction. The reader almost feels like he or she is in a Spanish version of Tortilla Flator Cannery Row.




    Farol is a town that struggles to make a living by fishing. Superstition abounds in the town. No leather was allowed anywhere the fishing fleet, which in itself is barely functional. Motorized boats have been cannibalized to the point that the few boats that run barely do. The boats are named with pagan references that government officials make the fishermen cover up and rename. Farol is a single commodity town and fishing in itself is at subsistence level. So important is the fishing that locals turn to a magician who can smell out the tuna. Animals are not killed unless there is good reason. A man shooting rats because they might carry the plague is told to stop and told once there is plague then the rats could be killed. Killing them for no reason would not be tolerated, but sending a message is different though. When dolphins are snagged in fishing nets, they are not killed; they are wounded and released to show the other dolphins what would happen to them if they decided to get snagged in the fisher's nets.




    Cats have the run of Farol, and it is know as the cat village. Sort is an adjoining town, known as the dog town. Sort is on its own hard times with the decline of the cork industry and relies on subsistence agriculture. The two villages have their own feud. Life is further complicated by Muga who want to bring tourism to the Farol. Villagers fear that the foreigners staring out at the water from the shore would ruin the fishing.




    Voices of the Old Sea is a fun read. It reads like fiction with nearly unbelievable events and characters so colorful that they seem they could they could only come from the authors imagination. Lewis' growing attachment to the village and the process of his acceptance makes for an interesting read. A very good book for all.

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