It is satisfying, and entirely in keeping with the mischievous character of Norman Lewis, that his very last book, The Tomb in Seville, is also his first. For the extraordinary set of misadventures recounted in The Tomb of Seville were first described in Norman Lewis's apprentice-work, Spanish Adventure, which he rightly refused to have re-issued ...
It is satisfying, and entirely in keeping with the mischievous character of Norman Lewis, that his very last book, The Tomb in Seville, is also his first. For the extraordinary set of misadventures recounted in The Tomb of Seville were first described in Norman Lewis's apprentice-work, Spanish Adventure, which he rightly refused to have re-issued in later life. In 1934 he travelled across the breadth of Spain into Morocco. The eve of the murderous civil war. He was acting as both friend and fellow-adventurer to his young brother-in-law, Eugene Corvaja, but also as minder, charged by his Sicilian father-in-law with keeping an eye on his son, who he knew to be a compassionate idealist easily attracted to left-wing causes. Norman, of course, had his own agenda, though the outward mission of this unlikely pair was to locate the tomb of the last Spanish Corvaja in the Cathedral of Seville. As an old man, he 'twice distilled' these powerful lifelong memories to create a slim, sharpened text, with all the bite of a vintage Norman Lewis. Other Norman Lewis titles published by Eland: Jackdaw Cake, The Missionaries, Voices of the Old Sea, A View of The World, Naples' 44, Dragon Apparent, Golden Earth, The Honoured Society and The Empire of the East.
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-01-03 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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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