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Roads to Santiago by Cees Nooteboom
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Roads to Santiago (1992)

by Cees Nooteboom

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English (8)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (2)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Cees Nooteboom was (is?) a Dutch novelist, and this book was apparently originally written in Dutch. I read it in English translation. The translation read very smoothly, with only one or two odd constructions, that may have been due to the translator being British. This book reminds me of the sort of evocative histories of Spain that I used to read when I was first learning about Spanish history back in high school, many, many years ago. Nooteboom was a highly literate author, and his writing flows with allusions to many historical, cultural, religious and other events, most of them interesting in their own right. He ties his experience of Spain into his own life experiences (he was educated by monks in a Catholic boarding school; his education in the Netherlands, whose notion of Spain is still colored by the Spanish cruelty in the 80-years war, among other things) so much of the writing has a very personal tone.
The idea of the book is that Nooteboom is taking his own very personal pilgrimage to Saint James's shrine at Santiago de Campostela, and though he does describe parts of the Camino de Santiago, he travels through many other parts of Spain, including Valencia, Catalunya, Granada, and even the Canary islands, ending up with a brief description of and meditation upon Santiago itself. Much interesting historical material is covered, a great deal of which I know very little about, which I will enjoy making further inquiries about on my own. The Spain he describes sounds so much to me like the Spain I experienced when I travelled there in the mid-1970s, which is perhaps not surprising since he has been traveling through Spain since at least the 1950s. The book was published in the early 1990s, and the actual trips he describes probably took place 10 to 15 years later. ( )
  baobab | Oct 6, 2017 |
An unusual viewpointin tat the author deeply loves Spain and Santiago but is not a Catholic or even a Chrsitian, yet he feels a strong spiritual power n Santiago and feels a need to travel there and elsewhere in Spain; the material is at least as much on traveling in modern Spain as on Santiago itself. ( )
  antiquary | Aug 24, 2016 |
An OK read, but I do like Cees Nooteboom's novels better. Visited too many church's for my tastes. Would have liked more story in the present rather than historical references. ( )
  MSarki | Jan 23, 2016 |
"A Espanha é brutal, anárquica, egocêntrica, cruel; a Espanha é capaz de cavar a própria sepultura por razões absurdas, é caótica, sonha,é completamente irracional. Conquistou o mundo e não soube o que fazer com ele, está arraigada a seu passado medieval, árabe, judeu e cristão, e continua ali, com suas cidades teimosas, engastada nessas paisagens infinitas, vazias, como um continente ligado à Europa sem ser a Europa. Quem percorreu apenas os circuitos obrigatórios não conhece a Espanha. Quem não não tentou se perder na complexidade labiríntica de sua história ignora o país por onde anda."

Caminhos para Santiago não é tanto sobre a peregrinação para Santiago como sobre os desvios que o autor toma para discutir a cultura e a história do país pelo qual é há muito tempo apaixonado. ( )
  JuliaBoechat | Mar 30, 2013 |
My first acquaintance with Cees Nooteboom is via this bookk. I already was curious about his work and then I got this book as a present. That was one-and-a-half year ago, just before my first trip to Spain. Now my third trip is planned and I finally read this book.

Unfortunately I don't know a lot about the history of Spain and that makes this book sometimes complicated, as I have to fill in some gaps. The same applies to the many architectural descriptions of small churches. A topic I'm not too interested in.

But that does not mean I didn't like this book! I loved the writing style of Nooteboom. But I also found out that you need time for it (which wasn't a problem at all). Tthe book is divided into about 25 separate stories, that can be read in one sitting and are not really connected, so I read the book over a couple of months. And I had the version of the book with pictures, so there is plenty to watch.

I can imagine that I will read this book again as I've been more in Spain and I when I have deepened my hirstorical knowledge. I definitely want to read more by Nooteboom. Although he makes a lot of detours it is very interesting. And I'm also curious for his novels.

http://boekenwijs.blogspot.com/2012/02/de-omweg-naar-santiago.html ( )
  boekenwijs | Feb 22, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cees Nooteboomprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barrios, CarlesCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Couto, PatríciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grande, JulioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gratacòs, MarionaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Noble, PhilippeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rike, InaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Solbes, EnricDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Het is niet te bewijzen en toch geloof ik het: op sommige plaatsen in de wereld wordt je aankomst of vertrek op geheimzinnige wijze vermeerderd door de emoties van al diegenen die daar eerder zijn vertrokken of aangekomen.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156011581, Paperback)

A worthy travel book does not encourage a reader to follow in the author's footsteps in search of the "good spots" so much as it creates a sense of adventure and the desire to understand a place. In Roads to Santiago: Detours and Riddles in the Lands and History of Spain, Dutch author Cees Nooteboom seeks out the soul and spirit of Spain in a way that suggests a journey of self-discovery as much as an actual expedition. Although the stated goal is to reach Santiago de Compostela--a church in northwest Spain that was once the object of pilgrimages during the Middle Ages--Nooteboom doesn't follow a single or direct route to the village. The more serendipitous the journey, the better. Nooteboom followed many "detours," taking nearly every back road he found and making sure to avoid anything resembling a major thoroughfare or urban center. The result of his circuitous travels is this collection of moving essays on Spain's history, geography, architecture, and people.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Roads to Santiago is Cees Nooteboom's passionate and beautifully written chronicle of Spain - its architecture, art, history, landscapes, villages, and people. Traveling from side road to side road, he discovers a profound and mysterious country not found in standard tourist guides. Nooteboom is continually seduced by an unknown name on a signpost, by what might be seen on the next hill or beyond a distant mountain. His destination may be Santiago de Compostela, but he lingers in Aragon, passes through Granada, dines in Chinchon, and strolls the empty halls of the Prado. His prose, too, takes side roads, lovely digressions, sometimes literary, sometimes political, by turns ironic, erudite, melancholy.… (more)

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