Like many writers in their early days, David Hewson wasn’t exactly rolling in it. But years later – having turned a popular TV series, The Killing, into a hugely-successful series of novels – he’s perhaps made, well, a killing. He’s been a journalist (having helped launch The Independent newspaper) and writer for years.
In 1987 David, by his own admission, needed a few bob so traveled around southern Spain and wrote Granada and Eastern Andalucia (he also wrote Seville and Western Andalucia and Mallorca). We bought a copy and love it, including the cute hand-drawn route maps – although the illustrations are poor.
The first 15 pages describe, in a nutshell, the history, geography, architecture and food of the region. The book continues with twelve days of travel by car covering Málaga, Granada, Córdoba, Jaen, Ubeda, Carzorla, Guadix and – much to our delight, but hardly surprising – Las Alpujarras. The last day he heads south to the coast – Salobreña, Almuñécar and Nerja.
The level of detail is spot on – just enough to whet the appetite but not so detailed you’d need hours to wade through it. There are good tips too, like spending two days in Granada – one to simply walk the streets and take in the vibe, the second to visit the Alhambra. (Bloggers, writers were there long before us!)
David told us he hasn’t been back to Las Alpujarras for 20 years but remembers ‘there were very few non-Spanish people around back then.’ He visited Málaga a few months ago and says ‘it’s very different now – for the better. Back then there wasn’t even a motorway from Málaga along the coast, just huge traffic jams through Torremolinos and Fuengirola.’
We got the book in a real bookshop, in London! David joked that what we paid for it (£3.50) was probably what he earned from it.
Of Órgiva he writes: ‘It’s more typical of the Alpujarras than Lanjarón, but in neither town there is much to be seen (we disagree!). What pleasures are to be had come from wandering the streets and admiring the selection of fruit and honey on display, and perhaps stopping for a plate of jamón or migas, with a glass of the local deep rosé wine.‘
David says: ‘It’s funny seeing these old books get resurrected on Amazon now – so hopelessly out of date.’ And of course, when travel books mention places to stay, and whether they take Diner’s Club cards, there are plenty of bits to skip. Having said that, the places that are still here today must be doing something right.
This book – a personal observation of a beautiful part of Spain – is a great introduction to eastern Andalucia, its cities, towns and villages. Oh, there’s a recipe for Ajo Blanco (cold almond and garlic soup).
In 1996 David wrote Death in Seville – one to download or pick up in a shop.
Here’s his website with an up-to-date blog.
© con jamón spain