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Duende - A Journey in Search of Flamenco

Duende, un voyage à la recherche du flamenco
Récit, 352 pages, juin 2004
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One of the best books ever written on Spain’ Literary Review This was my first book, which I had great fun writing. Flamenco is a powerful art form that can change your life. So far, the book has been translated into ten different languages, and plans are afoot to turn it into a film. Here is the blurb from the publishers : ‘When Jason heads off for Spain in search of duende, the intense emotional state - part ecstasy, part desperation - so intrinsic to flamenco, he has no idea what to expect.

What he finds is a kaleidoscope of experience and excitement : From the tyranny of his guitar teacher, practising for hours on end until his fingers bleed to his passionate affair with Lola, a flamenco dancer (and older woman) married to the gun-toting Vicente, which causes him to flee Alicante in fear of his life. In Madrid, he falls in with Gypsies and meets the imperious Jesús. Joining their dislocated, cocaine-fuelled world, stealing cars by night and sleeping away the days in tawdry rooms, he finds himself spiralling self-destructively downwards. It is only when he arrives in Granada bruised and battered, after two years total immersion in the flamenco lifestyle that he is able to put his obsession into context.’

‘The autobiography-as-travelogue that is also a rite of passage is a form which worked brilliantly for Laurie Lee and Bruce Chatwin - both novelists as well as seekers after the truth-behind-the-truth. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new star of the genre : Jason Webster’. The Daily Mail.