Victoria Hislop, The Return

Having heard about her first book, The Island, but not read it (oh dear, on the pile of must-reads), I was excited to be given this book to review.  The review came out a week or so ago, but I’ve added it in case anyone’s interested. 

She’s obviously captivated by Grenada, a city that blossomed into a rich, multicultural society, as well as wonderful centre of learning, as the Caliphate (kingdom) of Grenada.  Flamenco – which is at the heart of her book – obviously derives much from that golden era. But then, fast forward from the fall of Grenada in the late 15th century to the 1930s, and Hislop’s story focuses on the outbreak of Civil War and its horrendous events and aftermath.  I’d studied a little of Garcia Lorca’s work many years ago, but it was very moving to rediscover his passion for flamenco – and bullfighting – which Hislop describes so beautifully.  Leaving aside the story of Sonia (and her featherbrained sidekick, Maggie, who I found wholly irrelevant), the book’s well worth reading just for its descriptions of Lorca and flamenco.

About Lucy Byatt

I'm a translator, from Italian into English. I also teach Italian Renaissance history and write.
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