What comes to your mind when you think of Spain? Does it remind you of a place where you can spend your holidays? I have never been to Spain. Judging by the postcards, movies and the excitement on the faces of my friends, I expected Spain to be an ideal place to spend your holidays. But little did I know Spain has more layers to it besides being a place for fun and frolic. It is also a place which is struggling to come to terms with it's ghosts.
Less than 40 years after the death of the Generalissimo, Francisco Franco, the people are still divided on what Spain went through during his reign. A lot of modernization happened under Franco. On the other hand, there was also a lot of brutality. Ironically, it was also a time when brother turned against brother or neighbour against neighbour. Even after all these years, Spain is still deeply divided on this subject and is reluctant in exorcising the demons. Modern Spain is trying to forget the past. At the same time, it is also trying to capitalize on the tourism. The tourism which has boosted construction has also ushered in corruption. At the same time, there are lone wolves who stand up against the tide. If this is not enough, nationalism is creating a division in the map of Spain. The Basques refuses to be Spanish. Similarly, Barcelona is not Spanish if you take the language and culture into consideration.
Having spent a considerable time in Spain, Giles Tremlett shows us a side of Spain which we have not seen. In order to paint this picture of Spain, he not only draws from the experience of living in the country for so many years but also the networks he has created in the country. He goes to different parts of the country, conducts interviews and uses this as the basis for telling us about the struggles of Spain. This technique serves in telling the facts like in an investigation in a very interesting way. This is the book to read if you are armchair traveller or if you plan to visit the country. Visiting places can help you take photographs. Knowing the people will help you tell a much more interesting story using the photographs. It will also help you understand and appreciate the locals you meet.