He writes like an angel, and conveys the pride and vitality of the humblest Spanish life with unfailing sharpness, zest and humor. - The Sunday Times (UK)
For Laurie Lee, as for much of the world, 1936 was the end of innocence. Lee recalls the first great journey of his young life, in which he walks through Spain and becomes entangled in the passionate, bloody struggle that was the Spanish Civil War. This memoir (a sequel to the beloved Cider with Rosie), written with the excitement and wonder of a twenty-year-old, is also infused with the prescience of a young adult who sees what lies ahead.
Following the enthusiastic reception of Godine's reissue of Cider with Rosie, we are pleased to announce the second book in Laurie Lee's autobiographical trilogy, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning.
"I was nineteen years old, still soft at the edges, but with a confident belief in good fortune. I carried a small rolled-up tent, a violin in a blanket, a change of clothes, a tin of treacle biscuits, and some cheese. I was excited, vain-glorious, knowing I had far to go; but not, as yet, how far."
So starts the adventure of the young Laurie Lee, who walks from his tiny village in a remote corner of Gloucestershire, to London and into the twentieth century. Knowing one Spanish phrase, he decides to take the ferry to Spain.
Unbeknownst to Lee, Spain in 1934 was on the verge of war, and, inexorably, he becomes entangled in the passionate, violent and bloody confusion that was the Spanish Civil War.
Praise for As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
Twenty years before Jack Kerouac set off On the Road, Lee left the safety of his rural English home and embarked on a wondrous adventure...Lee masterfully evokes the ambiance and tension of Europe on the eve of World War II. Lee's narration is like curling up on one's grandfather's lap and listening to stories of being attacked by wolves, hounded by the police, romanced by idealism, and seduced by beauty. This is a fine nonfiction complement to Ernest Hemingway's From Whom the Bell Tolls [sic]. Highly recommended. Library Journal
The new edition is a welcome addition to the memoir genre, especially for those who've never discovered Lee before. His gentle descriptions of seeing the world in a new way, and transforming his life as a result, will ring true for anyone who's stood in a foreign landscape, and felt a great gust of cool air through the mind because of it. ForeWord Magazine
He writes like an angel, and conveys the pride and vitality of the humblest Spanish life with unfailing sharpness, zest and humor. The Sunday Times (UK)
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning offers a new edition of Laurie Lee's classic account of involvement in the Spanish Civil War, offering an unexpected blend of humor, coming of age, and social observation. It's a sequel to his Cider with Rosie but stands well alone as a fine memoir observing Europe on the brink of World War II, and is a top recommendation for both its social observation and its lyrical, literary prose. Midwest Book Review
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
''I was nineteen years old, still soft at the edges, but with a confident belief in good fortune. I carried a small rolled-up tent, a violin in a blanket, a change of clothes, a tin of treacle biscuits, and some cheese. I was excited, vain-glorious, knowing I had far to go; but not, as yet, how far. As I left home that morning and walked away from the sleeping village, it never occurred to me that others had done this before me.'' Despite this romantic and optimistic opening, what Lee finds and describes is the most primitive and feudal country in Europe, a peninsula for the most part untouched by the modern world, a land of labor without dignity, a church devoid of compassion, and a country ripe for revolutionary change. There is humor here, and love, and adolescent awakening, but beneath the smoothly written surface is a foreboding sense of a savage future, a premonition that a war will come, which will not end soon. For Lee, as for much of the world, 1936 was the end of innocence, a fateful year when ''it was being learned again that men needed more than courage, anger, slogans, convictions, or even a just cause when they went to war.'' Thus Lee, innocently but inexorably, becomes entangled in the passionate, violent, and bloody struggle that was the Spanish Civil War. Along with Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, Lee's sequel to Cider with Rosie is a singular document, written with the excitement and wonder of a twenty-year-old, but infused with the wisdom of a young adult who sees what lies ahead and is capable of conveying to the reader how bad it will be.About the Author:
Laurie Lee was born in 1914 in Stroud, Gloucestershire, and was brought up with his mother and many siblings. At the age of nineteen he walked to London and then traveled on foot through Spain as described in As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. He married Catherine Polge and had one daughter; he died in 1997.
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