The appearance, sixty years after the civil war ended, of mass graves containing victims of Franco’s death squads has finally broken what Spaniards call ‘the pact of forgetting’. At this charged moment, Giles Tremlett embarked on a journey around Spain – and through Spanish history. Tremlett’s journey was also an attempt to make sense of his personal experience of the Spanish.
Why do they dislike authority figures, but are cowed by a doctor’s white coat? How have women embraced feminism without men noticing? What binds gypsies, jails and flamenco? Why do the Spanish go to plastic surgeons, donate their organs, visit brothels or take cocaine more than other Europeans? Finding answers to those questions involved travelling some strange and colourful byroads . . .
Tremlett answers these questions wittily, aserbically and convincingly. It’s the book many people have been waiting for someone to write for a long time and Giles Tremlett was the ideal candidate to do it. He’s a Madrid –based British journalist who writes for The Guardian and has been living in Spain for over twenty years.
The book is a carefully worked balance between painstaking research and passionate personal experience. Tremlett has met the herculean task of unveiling and unravelling a complicated history and multi-facetted culture with great sensitivity and compassion. He covers thorny issues such as the Franco era, ETA and Basque culture and history as well as flamenco and the history of tourism and the Spaniard’s relation to all these issues today.
“The Ghosts of Spain” is insightful, funny and at times even a little scary, packed with fascinating facts and a thought-provoking account of where Spain has come from and where its heading in the future.