Orange Bitter, Orange Sweet – Anthony McDonald

OBOS I was delighted to read this beautiful book after a holiday in Andalucia. I remember the smell of oranges in the intense heat in Seville. It was fortuitous that our group had chosen this shortly after that holiday. This is a beautiful, evocative and well-written book.

The setting is the Moorish arches and orange trees. When they’ve been to Andalucia, people think they’ve done Spain. Albaicin has a feel of sadness. You don’t need dinner – just tapas. Some in Morocco keep keys in case Moors get the place back. Salamanca station is the scene of so many departures.

Ecija is the frying pan of Europe

About Gay relationships:  Women tend to keep, men to fly away – like different ends of a magnet. Gays are set to push apart by nature The Church says gay relationships don’t work so they won’t give advice on maintaining them. They haven’t had time to learn to make relationships work – pioneers. The gay scene is like England ten years previously. In laws of homosexuals rarely recognise themselves in that role. Ironically theirs is about the only relationship that does last

Borja was a loner as a child, at the time of Franco’s injustices. He has visions of death, homosexuality is still illegal and he sees his relationship with James as sacramental because falling in love made sex right. He had lost faith in the Church’s teachings when he was told Sodom story was mistranslation. His faith had been a house built on sand. However, he still had the macho Spanish habit of speaking as if the womenfolk did not count.

Alexa was ‘just an Anglican’ when discussing religion and poverty

James’s first ever lie was about the need to go to Jerez.

Karsten is exploring his vocation and muses, somewhat fatalistically, on the death of Rafael, that “one shall be taken, the other left.” And “Are we all lightening rods for other people’s destinies?

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