Spain is an immemorial land like no other, one that James A. Michener, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and celebrated citizen of the world, came to love as his own. Iberia is Michener's enduring nonfiction tribute to his cherished second home. In the fresh and vivid prose that is his trademark, he not only reveals the celebrated history of bullfighters and warrior kings, painters and processions, cathedrals and olive orchards; he also shares the intimate, often hidden country he came to know, where the congeniality of living souls is thrust against the dark weight of history. Wild, contradictory, passionately beautiful, this is Spain as experienced by a master writer.
"From the glories of the Prado to the loneliest stone villages, here is Spain, castle of old dreams and new realities." (The New York Times)
"Massive, beautiful...unquestionably some of the best writing on Spain [and] the best that Mr. Michener has ever done on any subject." (The Wall Street Journal)
"A dazzling panorama...one of the richest and most satisfying books about Spain in living memory." (Saturday Review)
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- William P. Dingell
Stilted delivery, truly dated content
I read other books by Michener long ago (_Hawaii_ is the only one I can recall) and thought his mode of really digging into a locale's formation and development was really interesting and engaging. I'm going to Spain and thought Michener's approach might inform our trip. I've never _listened_ to one of his books but audio often works for me for dry content. Here, though, the narrator sounds like he is reading and it's distracting. Also the time frame in which the work is set starts after WWII and the material does not age well. "A woman's slip, four dollars in America" is a sample (slightly paraphrased) statement. It's jarring. As to insight into what the culture of Spain is like _now_, I have zero confidence I'd find it in this book. I've listened to the first chapter and have no interest in continuing on.
Something more interesting and relevant, I fervently hope. I'll probably go back to fiction.
He had an old fashioned sound to his voice, if that makes sense. Maybe it was his accent or his style of reading. It was ponderous.
It's the author's (and the narrator's) job to pull me in and pull me along. I am no longer interested or willing to work hard at extracting content from a book. I'm not a philistine, but there are millions of books out there, and I only have so much time.
- Barclay A. Dunn