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As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know anyone who’s opened this book who hasn’t been immediately enchanted by it. Much less famous than Cider With Rosie – the first in Laurie Lee’s autobiographical trilogy – this sequel finds Lee leaving home on foot with little more than his violin and the determination to make his way by busking.

He walks first to London, and then on a whim (because he knows one Spanish phrase) buys a boat ticket to Spain. Here the writing really takes flight. Spain in the mid 1930s is revealed in all its beauty and poverty, hospitality and violence.

I first read this book many years ago, an unexpected inheritance from a close family friend, and its many vivid images have stuck in my mind, as, I found myself drawn in to Laurie Lee’s strange and unique mix of naïve innocence and acute observation.

On re-reading, I found I’d forgotten how the tone darkens, especially with the approach of civil war, adding to the book’s depth. Nevertheless, what keeps coming back to me is the sun-broiled landscape, and Lee’s cast of richly varied characters. And a style that seems so simple yet can capture a moment in a single phrase.

This review first appeared in Cafe Thinking: Secret Library

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