When he was a graduate student, Richard Barrett traveled to a small village in Spain to conduct research for his doctoral dissertation. He spent more than a year living in the village of Benaberre, interacting with the residents and making friendships that have lasted a lifetime. In Tales from a Spanish Village, Barrett shares his experiences, from his initial visit to different villages in search of the right location for his research, to his first encounters with the many villagers in Benaberre, to his sad farewell when he had completed his research.
This memoir is specific to the time Barrett spent in Spain from 1967-68. He writes it as a snapshot of the time, offering a glimpse into the villagers' traditions and way of life during those years, and their viewpoints under the Franco regime. He explores class differences and the reaction of a small village to an outsider showing up and asking questions.
The characters were the best part of this story. Barrett describes the people he met during his stay in Benaberre in such detail that I felt like I knew them. He brought them to life through his descriptions of their personalities and actions. Through his personal writing style, he brought the village to life as well. It's a fascinating journey to a place that I will never have a chance to visit. But through the words and photographs of Richard Barrett, I feel like I've already been there.
I'd recommend Tales from a Spanish Village to anyone interested in learning about village life in the 1960s or about Spanish history during that time.
My Rating: 3.5/5
This review was written based on a copy of Tales from a Spanish Village that I received from Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists.