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The Flamenco Academy

by Sarah Bird

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

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bks r life

Ole! Ole!
A member of my book club has studied flamenco dancing and suggested this book. It was a great choice. We had one of our best discussions ever. It ranged from the nature of friendship to the role of art to every "bad boy" boyfriend we've ever had. We got to that last part after having coordinating tapas and several rounds of sangria. Our dancing friend even brought in a flamenco CD. It made for a really fun, really memorable evening. We say muchas gracias to Sarah Bird for writing such a fascinating book about a world none of us knew before.

Treacherous and Tedious
Disappointing doesn't begin to describe how trite this book is. Or how the main characters shouldn't be the main characters. Or how disrespectful the author is to the reader.

Gosh, does one woman really betray another over a man? Wouldn't Dona Carlota be a more interesting protagonist? Can't even the basic facts be verified?

I don't know why Bird has the credential she has. This is a waste of time.

I was very excited when I started reading the book. The description of the dancing and the rhythm. Her words were so melodic and beautiful.

Unfortunately, when I got to the Spanish dialogues... it was incredibly disappointing to see how little research Ms. Bird did for The Flamenco Academy.

The Spanish grammar errors unforgivable. As I read and marked error after error, I finally came to the conclusion that Ms. Bird did not intend for her novel to be read by Spanish-speakers (much less Castilian Spanish-speakers). It was as if she had read some random book for tourists visiting Spain or did a summer internship at the Universidad de Granada when she was in college and felt she was expert enough to write a novel based on a culture too complex or dignified for her to translate into her own words. Ambitious, but wrong.

This shows very little respect for an audience that could have really enjoyed her novel. It's as if she had said to herself, "They won't read this."

Some of the basic mistakes she made in her book could have been avoided by looking it up in a dictionary, basic Spanish grammar book, asking a Spanish-speaking friend or expert (from Spain, specifically, as the book is deals with characters from that country).

Although Ms. Bird clearly understands the feeling behind Flamenco dancing, Spain and its language are not present in her novel. Great mistake, as you can't have Flamenco without Spain.

PS: Jehovah's Witnesses CAN indeed shave their legs and armpits.

PS2: People from the Philippines do not speak Spanish fluently. Unless, they've grown up in Spain.
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