Naive & Abroad: Spain: Limping 600 Miles Through History Paperback – Jun 3 2008
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Fortunately, Marcus Wilder is not much of a watcher of television (he doesn't own one) or of movies. His second book "Naïve & Abroad: Spain: Limping 600 Miles through History" is just as good, if not better, than his Pakistan book. "Limping 600 Miles through History" is the story of Marcus' walk across Spain on the caminos from Seville to Santiago. If it was anyone else making this trip it might be another un-memorable memoir, except that Wilder's medical problems (broken back, diabetes) make you wonder how he got out of bed in the morning, let alone walked 600 miles alone.
Wilder's outsider view in passing of Spanish society and his keen observational powers make this book a fascinating set of sociological and historical observations wrapped in delightful slice-of-life anecdotes. Wilder meets people along the way and makes you feel you know them as well as he does. His Hemingway-esque short, punchy word pictures almost overwhelm the senses with sensory input from his incredible descriptions. Reading the story of Bathilde who fell and hit her face on a rock made me cringe and taste blood. The vignette of the American father with his glass of wine and cigar dozing in the sun made me more than a little sleepy in sympathy.
Marcus' famous internal dialogue -- that's very much what it reads like on paper -- discusses so much that I frequently wanted to go back and re-read the last page to make sure I had fully absorbed everything before moving on. The book was so riveting for me I'd have read it three or four times if it wasn't currently making the rounds between my son and wife, who won't give it up.
This is most definitely a book for people who love to read a good story, and recommended for people who think the pleasant art of conversation has died. It hasn't; Marcus Wilder is it's guardian and master. If you read his previous book on Pakistan, Wilder finds enough Muslim and Moor influences in Spain to make you feel he's become a master observer of the Muslim condition wherever he goes.. A most excellent choice for a gift; this book will have your giftee thanking you for a long time to come.
This is untrue. Marion was my mother-in-law. Robert Merriman was killed in battle, and Marion returned to the U.S., where she spent the rest of her life. If the author has a problem with such a well-known fact, I would tend to doubt the authenticity of the rest of the book.