lunes, 23 de abril de 2012


We start a series of book reviews to be published in Costa Tropical News magazine. This is the review for May issue.

SUNNY SIDE UP by David Baird

More than thirty years ago David Baird, after working around the world as a journalist, and his wife Thea travelled through southern Spain looking for living a back-to-nature existence in the sunshine. So they settled in El Pueblo. And during the last thirty years they have seen time going by and have observed, not without nostalgia, how the 21st century has beaten this village in southern Spain. And that's what this book is about. About humans interacting with humans, neighbours and visitors, with landscape, urban and natural, and about looking for the essence of every little aspect of life and enjoy it.

Here the reader will find hilarious situations arising from the relationship with neighbours, the presence of the authorities or the clash of cultures. In one of them, our man decides to produce his own wine on the pueblo style since "they had, after all, been at it for generations, using methods handed down from father to son since the time of Romans " but coming from a world where waiting for something to happen was a waste of time "In desperation, I tossed the comatose yeast into the angry must and sat back to await results...My book said it was most essential to use this device to avoid infection by fruit flies and other noxious influences. It was comforting to know that all this technology was on my side. The locals, poor souls, had no such advantages...They just put a slate over the hole in the barrel". but after his failure… "I picked up my wine bible to seek an explanation. Then I had second thoughts and went in search of Jaime". Again and again the force of tradition and custom takes him to rethink his world, and little by little he becomes involved in el pueblo as a neighbour and not a foreigner. The book is full of episodes dealing with dark customs, miracles, funny traditions such as the cencerrazo, local politics and politicians, and progress and “new” technologies such as tv, refrigerators or washing machines touching el pueblo for the first time.

But we can also find delightful descriptions of stunning views, sensations and nature: “But the rains never lasted long and the sunny days that followed made up for them. There was a brilliance to the atmosphere in winter which I have seen nowhere else. The air possessed an astonishing clarity; every time I gazed out at the morning stillness from our terrace, I was surprised again by the intensity of the play of light and shadow. Each tree, each house, each ridge, each leaf seemed freshly minted and each image so burnished that it etched itself diamond-sharp on the retina”. This is el pueblo, that it could be your pueblo, any pueblo. What a beautiful place to settle and fell at home.

                                                       Title: Sunny Side Up
                                                       Author: David Baird
                                                       ISBN: 9788489954366
                                                       Publisher: Santana Books
                                                       Distribution: Maroma Press
                                                       Price: 8,90€ (at 1616 Books)

Selected as recommended reading for EOI (Official Language School)  Motril 5th grade!