BookBrowse Reviews The Flamenco Academy by Sarah Bird

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The Flamenco Academy

by Sarah Bird

The Flamenco Academy by Sarah Bird
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2006, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2007, 400 pages

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A story brimming with romance and visceral details of flamenco, its music and its history

From the author of The Yokota Officers Club comes a novel about two young American women caught up in the fevered excitement of the flamenco revival that swept the American South-West in the late '50s and early '60s. This is not just the saga of Rae and Didi, but also of Doña Carlota's childhood in 1930s Spain shadowed by the civil war (a story that is in danger of overwhelming the main plot). What sets The Flamenco Academy above your average easy read is the irresistible drive and energy of the narrative, the rich settings and, of course, the history and intricacies of flamenco itself which, at one point, Didi describes as "obsessive-compulsive disorder set to a great beat"!

Bird says that she was compelled to write a novel of obsessive love because of her own 7-year-long obsessive love affair. In an effort to break free of this relationship she traveled around Europe for a year and a half at the age of 20 where, very early one morning in a tiny club outside Barcelona, she saw her first flamenco performance. She says it was "the first materialization I'd witnessed that mirrored my tumultuous inner landscape". For years she tried to capture the experience of her relationship on paper but "it always came out as a suburban melodrama." Decades later, she remembered that night in Barcelona and The Flamenco Academy was born.

This review was originally published in July 2006, and has been updated for the October 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



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