By Chris D., Blackfen Community Library Volunteer.
My second book review is of an old favourite of mine that I could read again and again – ‘As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning’ by Laurie Lee first published in 1969.
This is a slim novel of roughly 200 pages and it is a delight and a joy to read. An autobiography of the 19-year-old author as he sets out in 1934 from the Cotswolds, first to London and then on to Spain finally returning home a year later.
Unlike most 19-year olds today setting off on a gap year, all Laurie took with him was a change of clothes and his violin; in London he made a living by labouring and playing the violin before setting off for Spain.
His language is evocative, lyrical and beautiful and his description of his journey, mostly on foot, through a Spain that was poverty stricken is a delight, especially the very warm welcome he mostly received from the locals. His descriptions of the places he visited and the people he met are captivating – the smells, tastes and endless sunshine are vividly described and his palpable love of Spain shines through. He succeeds in capturing the atmosphere where the signs of the impending civil war and violence are apparent.
Although this is the second book of a trilogy which begins with ‘Cider with Rosie’ and concludes with ‘A Moment of War’ when Laurie Lee returned to Spain in 1937 to fight for the Republican cause, it can be enjoyed as a standalone book.