In brief: The Secret World of Weather; Song for the Missing; España – reviews | Books


Tristan Gooley
Sceptre, £10.99, pp384 (paperback)

Trying to divine what the weather might do without the use of an app almost seems the stuff of magic these days. Tristan Gooley, however, is a wonderfully enthusiastic guide to how we can all learn how to understand the weather simply by looking and feeling, smelling and touching. The sections on microclimates and how the weather relates to the land around us are scientifically rigorous and accessible. This is one of those books that makes you look at your environment in a different, more poetic way.

Pierre Jarawan (translated by Elisabeth Lauffer)
World Editions, £12.99, pp472

The follow-up to Jarawan’s well-regarded debut, The Storyteller, finds the German-Lebanese author back in Beirut, initially during the Arab spring of 2011. The unrest triggers his protagonist Amin’s memories about – and feelings towards – a country that he both loves and fears. There’s a well-crafted balance to Jarawan’s approach, the dropping of bombs and corruption leavened by the poignant, intimate and thoughtful depiction of a family trying to navigate a way through the lasting trauma. Elisabeth Lauffer’s translation from German is moving yet urgent.

Giles Tremlett
Apollo, £25, pp304

Tremlett’s previous books on Spain have taken specific events or historical figures as a prism by which to understand the country. Here, he attempts something far more ambitious – a brief but complete history of Spain. By focusing on the intricate details of its diverse people, Tremlett explores the tensions and myths that resonate across the centuries, finding a country unique in its lack of a national narrative because of its many identities. He’s a fascinating socio-cultural guide, as happy to discuss Spain’s World Cup win as its Moorish rule.

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