A Brilliant Observer In The Tradition Of Adam Gopnik And Paul Theroux, Edward Lewine Reveals A Spain Few Outsiders Have Seen There S Nothing Spanish Than Bullfighting, And Nothing Less Like Its Stereotype For Matadors And Aficionados, It Is Not A Blood Sport But An Art, An Ancient Subculture Steeped In Ritual, Machismo, And The Feverish Attentions Of Fans And The Press Lewine Explains Spain And The Art Of The Bulls By Spending A Bullfighting Season Traveling Spanish Highways With The Celebrated Matador Francisco Rivera Ord Nez, Following Fran, As He S Known, Through Every Region And Social Stratum Fran S Great Grandfather Was A Famous Bullfighter And The Inspiration For Hemingway S Matador In The Sun Also Rises Fran S Father Was Also A Star Matador, Until A Bull Took His Life Shortly Before Fran S Eleventh Birthday Fran Is Blessed And Haunted By His Family History Formerly A Top Performer Himself, Fran S Reputation Has Slipped, And As The Season Opens He Feels Intense Pressure To Live Up To His Legacy Amid Tabloid Scrutiny In The Wake Of His Separation From His Wife, A Duchess But Fran Perseveres Through An Eventful Season Of Early Triumph, Serious Injury, And An Unlikely Return To Glory I still would never attend a bullfight, but after reading this book, I can say I understand its place in Spanish culture. Author Edward Lewine follows Francisco Romero Ord ez on the bullfighting circuit from the famous rings in Seville, Madrid and Bilbao to dusty little towns that put on only a couple of corridas a year during the local F ria In Spain, bullfighting is regarded as an art, not a sport There is no betting, no truly objective way to judge a good performance from a bad one, and reviewers may also review music, theater or dance performances And, as with other artistic careers, it s devilishly difficult to make a living Many aspire to the profession, but only a few major stars make real money It s certainly not a contest because if all goes well the bull will certainly die But the matador certainly risks death In fact, Fran s father died in the bullring when he was only ten At its best, proponents claim the bull and the matador perform a kind of dance of death together in the ring It s a quintessentially Spanish art, although the Spanish matadors also fight in rings in southern France and Mexico I m really glad to have read this book, because I ve learned to appreciate a tradition that has shaped Spanish culture But it s left me with less and less interest in seeing a fight myself I remain somewhat agnostic about claims from animal rights advocates that bullfights should be banned on the grounds of cruelty to animals Those of us who eat meat should recognize that, with the exception of the day of their death, the bulls lead longer and better lives than animals raised for meat But I have watched some of the You Tube videos which predictably focus on goring and prey on our desire to see blood and gore Not an appeal to the better angels of our nature Even those that show the art of the performance do seem to be pitting the superior mind of the matador seeking to dominate a dumb animal who is destined to lose. A lot of depth goes into the art of bullfighting Packing a absorbing stab at it than our man Hemingway Although his books will remain classics.This book is very well written, the sun shines bright over this piece on bullfighting and the art behind it. I am not that interested in bullfighting per se but Edward Lewine gives us a compelling narrative about one season in the life of a prominent Spanish bullfighter I enjoyed this book immensely a look at a very particular way of life, with its own rituals and customs Great reporting and a marvelous story. So I gave this 5 stars because of what the book means to me than its literary value I personally know Francisco Rivera Ordonez, the man the book centers on The book many times radiates my thoughts and feelings about Spain, describes the country and culture very similar to how I would though, there are times at which I disagree and I believe overall gives a phenomenal attempt at describing the essence of bullfighting to a target culture the U.S that innately abhors the art. Excellent book It was a very straight forward way to look at the culture of Bullfighting It does not support ot condone it in my opinion but let s me decide about it While I feel that it is art I m not sure it is for me I hope I get chances to continue to develope my understanding. Spain This was a truly absorbing book A debt goes to Francisco Rivera Ordonez, as well, for allowing a writer to join his entourage.Lewine gives us an appreciation for this art by taking us into the life not just any matador, but one who wears the mantle of his fathers.We learn about how the crowds vary from city to city, how the bulls are bred and selected, the attitude of the bull press , the history of the game We learn how to appreciate the matador s movements and about the nature and of his entourage We learn about costumes, the genteel way to buy scalped tickets and how to run with the bulls in Pomploma and much.Pictures would have been great, but the writing is so good they re not missed until the book is over I went to Francisco s web site where there are lots of photos, small and unlabeled, but many you can figure out.Through the writer s respect for the matador, and Fran in particular, the reader learns respect as well.OLE Reminds me of all the glorious contradictions that make me miss Spain everyday.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the
- 272 pages
- Death and the Sun: A Matador's Season in the Heart of Spain
- Edward Lewine
- 19 March 2018 Edward Lewine