I first set foot on Spanish soil in 2004, and shortly thereafter I picked up a copy of Chris Stewart’s Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain. This book was a delight for me, since I was living in Granada and had some idea of these Andalucian quirks that Stewart was writing about. It details his trek from former musician in the band Genesis (no, really) into the Spanish hinterlands where he buys a home and settles down. Despite my serious love for Spain, I draw the line at scorpions.
Needless to say, I wanted his second book for no other reason than to be reminded of the land I love. So six years later (they don’t sell the book in the US) – my friend Vince sends me this book in the mail and I am transported back to the cortijo. This time there is a nefarious parrot leading the pack, hence the title A Parrot in the Pepper Tree: A Sequel to Driving Over Lemons. Other prominent characters include his wife and daughter, who are adjusting to life in the mountains far from the comforts of home. Randomly, it also reflects on Stewart’s past lives as a musician, sheep shearer, and circus participant.
Now it would appear there is a THIRD book, and I am skeptical. This one is sans lemons and peppers, and plus a yacht. What? I thought he was living in the outer fringe of civilization? I did pick up the book, Three Ways to Capsize a Boat: An Optimist Afloat, which is decidedly thinner than the first two .. I have a sinking suspicion it may end up back on the shelf at Barnes & Noble.