3.5 out of 5 stars
People are changed by events, some that are of their own making, some that are because of things that are happening around them. Back in the summer of 2012, Paul has been suffering from the fall out from his personal circumstances. He decides that he needs to get away and reset himself.
One of his heroes was the writer, Laurie Lee, who back in 1935 set out on a journey from England to Spain. He landed in Vigo and then walked across the centre of the country before turning right and heading South to the Mediterranean. His arrival in the country was just before the Civil war started and at the end of his walk, he was evacuated by a British Navy Ship. Lee was soon to be back, though, to fight in the civil war.
This was a book that he loved as a young man, so it seemed fitting to follow in the footsteps of his literary hero, find the places he stayed, and the bars he frequented. But mostly to walk those same paths and discover modern Spain for himself. But this journey is more than that, it is time to reflect on his personal life and face his own internal demons that threaten to overwhelm him and to mull over the walk that Lee undertook and the fairly unconventional life that he had.
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning is a book that weaves its subtle magic on you, revealing the pleasures and the pain of a country that was just about to descend into civil war. This book, that was written for the Laurie Lee centenary year, is his own eulogy and pilgrimage to the man. Murphy is not the only person to undertake a walk from a literary hero from the 1930s. Nick Hunt followed in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor in Walking the Woods and the Water, and whilst this is quite as good as that one, I thought it is still worth reading for an insight into modern Spain and a celebration of Lee’s seminal book.