15/11/07

PUBLISHED 50 YEARS AGO: SOUTH FROM GRANADA.

In 1954 the German magazine, Der Monat, commissioned Gerald Brenan to write an article about Spain. Rereading his notes and searching through his memories, Brenan realized that he had material for a book and he began South from Granada, the record of his life in the Alpujarra. This gives a slightly different picture from some of the letters that he wrote at the time describing his dissatisfactions, his loneliness and periods of boredom. Every book is an invention and what Brenan did was make a selection of material on looking back at his Alpujarra years. Although he visited Yegen until 1934, he left the village in 1924 and South from Granada was published in 1957. “As one grows older one becomes a different person, inheriting by some strange magic a young man’s memories.” Brenan said. The book was written from the perspectives created by memory and the passage of time.

50 years have passed since the publishing of South from Granada and Yegen has changed completely. There aren’t any ‘Black Marias’ anymore, they are blond and come from Brighton and all the witches have left for ever, probably horrified by the new buildings. The village is motorized; every young man has a car in which he zooms around playing loud techno music. The land is semi-abandoned, only a few patches of tomatoes remain and the harvest is something of the past. There are no dances at night, they have been substituted by the sound of TV, and the young go to the Discos in nearby villages.

Gerald Brenan absorbed and described the old way of life in Yegen with delicacy and perception. South from Granada is an important account of times that have vanished for ever.

Fragmento de un artículo publicado en The Olive Press 01/11/2007

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