Happyreader's Reviews > A Visit to Don Otavio

A Visit to Don Otavio by Sybille Bedford
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Oct 23, 11

bookshelves: travel, women-of-interest
Read in October, 2011

Wanting to get into a Mexican state of mind, I chose this as my plane read to Mexico City. Unsurprisingly, my Mexico City was much more cosmopolitan than her post-WWII Mexico City yet her account left me with a strong desire to follow her into the Mexican countryside, especially if I had the opportunity to be hosted by such a hospitable country gentleman on his vast family compound of villas. I will say I did experience the same high level of hospitality while in Mexico but I didn’t get to visit the secret convent hidden in walls and cupboards of the homes of the village elites or get lost in an overgrown jungle on aborted attempt to visit the ocean. I’m also happy to report that no drunks were tossed off moving buses and no bandits arrived at the scheduled time to go through our luggage.

Throughout the book, there is the threat of violence, heightened by the author’s rendition of the various Mexican uprisings and assassinations, but in actuality, with the exception of the poor drunk on the bus, everyone remains safe and sound and the biggest tragedy is that the author never gets to sample Don Otavio’s claret.

If you want to learn more about Sybille Bedford, check out this 2005 New Yorker review which originally prompted me to pick up this book years ago. Sybille Bedford died in 2006.
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