Elizabeth Adams's Reviews > Roads to Santiago

Roads to Santiago by Cees Nooteboom
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I've been reading Cees Nooteboom's "Roads to Santiago," which chronicles the Dutch writer's circuitous pilgrimage (by car) through Spain, less in search of spiritual favors than for the spirits of Cervantes, Zurbarán, Velasquez, Romanesque churches and Cistercian monasteries, tiny villages hung in mountain valleys, virtually unchanged since the Middle Ages.

What I liked: the offbeat and circuitous nature of Nooteboom's journey and writing; he browses through Spain as if he's following one favorite subjects to the next place it leads. I learned a lot, and he made me want to visit many of these same places. He's intelligent, and doesn't tend toward the unpredictable, and doesn't shy away from personal opinion. He's Dutch but has had a lifelong fascination with Spain and knows the country well; we're the beneficiaries of that.

What I didn't like: his writing style felt very dense to me, and I often found my interest flagging. I guess I wanted more stories, and less research. Each chapter feels like an essay on its own merit, and some were more interesting than others.

The book led me to some research and writing of my own - on Roncevaux and The Song of Roland - always a good thing!

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Reading Progress

May 8, 2012 – Started Reading
May 8, 2012 – Shelved
May 21, 2012 – Finished Reading

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