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Sacred Sierra: A Year on a Spanish Mountain

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  11 reviews

This is a romantic, utterly alluring leap into Spanish sunshine, remote mountains and rural life. Jason Webster had lived in Spain for several years before he and his partner, the flamenco dancer Salud, decided to buy a deserted farmhouse clinging to the side of a steep valley in the eastern province of Castellón, near the sacred peak of Penaglosa. With help from local far

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published (first published March 16th 2009)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  143 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Emma Cooper
Jun 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jason Webster has lived in Spain for many years, and made a life there. He lives with a Spanish flamenco dancer, speaks the language and eats the food - he's not just an ex-pat there for a sunnier version of his own life.

Having lived in Valencia itself, and tired of the heat and the noise, Jason and Salud decide the time is right to buy an old farm (a 'mas' in the local language) and see if they can live the good life in the mountains. But most of the mas have been abandoned as people left for
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enthralling account of his experience of living in a Mas in the mountains near Valencia ! Gives a descriptive account of rural cultures in Spain !
Apr 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was plenty of interesting pieces of this book, but there wasn't much to hold it together. The book is exhaustingly self-righteous and overwrought: a steak isn't just juicy, it oozes with thick red blood and bashes the tingling nerves of the brain and causes a minor orgasm and makes the consumer consider death more fully blah blah blah. And while our darling American-British-world citizen author/narrator has come to save the land, somehow Webster displaces his colonist narrative onto the gr ...more
Alan Williams
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is Jason Webster's story of his first year in the mountainside "mas" which he and his wife Salud move to, and begin to renovate both the cottage and the land.

As he works with the elements he narrates a wonderful story of the characters he meets and the friendships made, as well as his expansion of almond, olive and truffle farming.

Each chapter, told in monthly parts, is started with a traditional folk tale from the area, which adds something extra to what is already a great and well written
Ian Cook
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read 'Sacred Sierra' because I enjoyed - sort of - 'Duende', but more especially because I'm interested in 'sacred places'. Mr Webster captures the 'sacredness of the earth' of Penyagolosa wonderfully, using the mythology and history of the area and his own associations with Pendle Hill. I did worry, though, about the authenticity of the characters, something which must be the concern of all travel writers. Personally, I wouldn't give the time of day to Paul Theroux for fear of being used to h ...more
Sandra Danby
Sometimes, reading Jason Webster’s story about life at his new rural mountain home near Valencia, it felt like reading our own experience getting to know our home in rural Andalucía. Reclaiming scrub land, planting trees, contending with the elements [for us that has meant -14° to +40°C], farming olives, confronting local wildlife, we have faced many of the same challenges. But we have never made our own hooch, faced a wildfire, or written stories in ink made from oak galls. Webster’s account of ...more
Rob Innis
I found Webster's other non-fiction books on Spain entertaining and informative. But this one, for me, never got out of first gear. Eventually, after about four chapters iof virtual monotony, I decided that there are too many other books demanding attention and put it back on my shelf, where it will be staying.
Subsequently I have returned to it, (having read other reviews) but still find the authors attempts at creating mysticism does not really work for me and the over detailed planting details
Aug 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up for several reasons; I'd read and enjoyed Jason Webster's books previously but I was also intrigued in exploring the interplay of history, city and country. What drew me in was Webster's description of how Spain has changed. I remember Spain from the nineties and was intrigued to read about how it's changed. There was little about that but the book delivered lots in terms of exploring the enduring natural rhythms.
May 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written, about an almost virgin place in Mediterranean Spain, theatened by developers' greed. You'll read about healing plants, geological landscapes, and learned people who choose the aloneness of high mountains.
Guadalupe Cordero
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful descriptions of life in a mountain intertwined with local folklore and a brief compendium of the trees that grow locally. This was a very enjoyable book.
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Jason Webster is a highly acclaimed Anglo-American author and authority on Spain whose work ranges from biography to travel, crime fiction and history. His books have sold in over a dozen countries, including the US, the UK and China, and have been nominated both for the Guardian First Book Award and the Crime Writers’ Association New Blood Dagger Award. He has been favourably compared with writer ...more