Dynamic Woman — Changing Times
Book Review: Journeys, Fruits, Neighbors
Maite Gonzalez Esnal pens prose that radiates with love for her native landscape. Translated from Spanish by the author in collaboration with Dala Beld Journeys, Fruits, Neighbors comprises travelogue, personal essay, and memoir.
Esnal draws from her experience living and working in the Basque Country. Her writing reflects childhood experiences growing up during the civil war.
Complex relationships of close-knit people who share a history but differ in their opinions are grist for her mill. A specialist in obscure dialects, her linguist’s appreciation of words allows her to paint vivid pictures of unfamiliar cultures. You might find yourself nostalgic for the days when people visited each other’s gardens to watch the vegetables grow!
Drawn to cemeteries, the author notes “the northwest wind pushed the boats toward the mausoleums as if it was sending them in search of souls.” I can picture that.
“The red lipstick still fresh on her lips–two curves resembling a butterfly–spoke louder than her words.” In context, that one sentence tells a paragraph-long story.
A self-described “traveler avid for new emotions in a geography of need,” she neatly separates the tourist from the traveler experience.
Planning a trip to the Basque country? This would be a delightful book to read in preparation. Journeys, Fruits, Neighbors offers a glimpse into an ancient culture that will develop your sensitivities in ways that will benefit your travel experience.
This book is available from the Center for Basque Studies bookstore and on Amazon.
© Sydney Avey