Encuentra tu próximo/a libro favorito/a

Conviértase en miembro hoy y lea gratis durante 30 días
Sidra con Rosie

Sidra con Rosie

Leer la vista previa

Sidra con Rosie

valoraciones:
4/5 (20 valoraciones)
Longitud:
261 página
6 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Sep 15, 2014
ISBN:
9788416112456
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

"Los últimos días de mi infancia fueron también los últimos días de la aldea. Yo pertenecía a aquella generación que vio, por casualidad, el final de una vida milenaria. [...] Yo, mi familia, mi generación, nacimos en un mundo de silencio; en un mundo de trabajo duro y necesaria paciencia, un mundo de espaldas dobladas hacia la tierra, cuidado manual de los cultivos, dependencia de la meteorología y de la cosecha; un mundo en que las aldeas eran naves en paisajes vacíos y las distancias entre ellas largas; un mundo de caminos marcados por cascos y ruedas de carretas, no hollados por la gasolina y el petróleo, apenas transitados por las personas y casi nunca por placer, por los que lo que más rápido se movía eran los caballos." Laurie Lee revive en esta novela, una de las más queridas y leídas por sus compatriotas, su infancia en una aldea de la campiña inglesa. Pese a nacer en 1914, un mes antes del comienzo de la Primera Guerra Mundial, sus recuerdos son amables y llenos de cariño hacia un mundo que iba a desaparecer.
Editorial:
Publicado:
Sep 15, 2014
ISBN:
9788416112456
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor


Relacionado con Sidra con Rosie

Títulos en esta serie (44)
Libros relacionados

Vista previa del libro

Sidra con Rosie - Laurie Lee

SIDRA CON ROSIE

Laurie Lee

Traducción de José Manuel Álvarez Flórez y Ángela Pérez

Título original: Cider with Rosie

© Laurie Lee

First published as Cider With Rosie by Chatto & Windus

© de la traducción: José Manuel Álvarez Flórez y Ángela Pérez

Edición en ebook: septiembre de 2014

© Nórdica Libros, S.L.

C/ Fuerte de Navidad, 11, 1.º B 28044 Madrid (España)

www.nordicalibros.com

ISBN DIGITAL: 978-84-16112-45-6

Diseño de colección: Filo Estudio

Corrección ortotipográfica: Ana Patrón y Susana Rodríguez

Maquetación ebook: Caurina Diseño Gráfico

Cualquier forma de reproducción, distribución, comunicación pública o transformación de esta obra solo puede ser realizada con la autorización de sus titulares, salvo excepción prevista por la ley. Diríjase a CEDRO (Centro Español de Derechos Reprográficos, www.cedro.org) si necesita fotocopiar o escanear algún fragmento de esta obra.

Para todos mis hermanos y hermanas,

los medio y los carnales.

Algunos fragmentos de este libro se publicaron originalmente en las revistas Orion, Encounter, The Queen y The Cornhill; otros dos son adaptaciones de piezas escritas primero para Leader Magazine y Geographical Magazine. El libro es una evocación de la infancia y algunos datos tal vez estén distorsionados por el tiempo.

Laurie Lee

Contenido

Portadilla

Créditos

Dedicatoria

Cita

Autor

PRIMERA LUZ

LOS PRIMEROS NOMBRES

LA ESCUELA RURAL

LA COCINA

LAS DOS ABUELAS

MUERTE PÚBLICA, ASESINATO PRIVADO

MADRE

INVIERNO Y VERANO

NIÑO ENFERMO

LOS TÍOS

EXCURSIONES Y FESTIVIDADES

EL PRIMER MORDISCO A LA MANZANA

LOS ÚLTIMOS DÍAS

Contraportada

Laurie Lee

(Slad, Gloucestershire, 1914-1997)


Laurence Edward Alan «Laurie» Lee. Poeta inglés, novelista y guionista, que se crio en el pueblo de Slad. Su obra más famosa es la trilogía autobiográfica que componen Cider with Rosie (1959), As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) y A Moment of War (1991). El primer volumen narra su infancia en el valle de Slad. La segunda novela trata de la salida de su casa hacia Londres y su primera visita a España en 1935, y el tercero de su regreso a España en diciembre de 1937 para unirse a las Brigadas Internacionales.

PRIMERA LUZ

Me bajaron de la carreta de mudanzas a los tres años; y en aquel punto, con una sensación de desconcierto y terror, se inició mi vida en la aldea.

La hierba de junio entre la que me encontraba era más alta que yo y me eché a llorar. Nunca había estado tan cerca de la hierba. Se alzaba sobre mí y me rodeaba por todas partes, cada hoja tatuada con atigradas rayas de luz de sol. Era hierba afilada, oscura, de un verde malévolo, tupida como una selva y llena de saltamontes que chirriaban, cotorreaban y saltaban por el aire como monos.

Me sentía perdido y no sabía adónde ir. La tierra emanaba un calor tropical cargado de penetrantes olores hediondos a raíces y a ortigas. Se amontonaban en el cielo níveas nubes de flores de saúco que derramaban sobre mí los vahos y los copos de su dulzura embriagadora y sofocante. En las alturas corrían frenéticas las alondras, gritando como si se rasgara el cielo.

Por primera vez en mi vida me encontraba lejos de la vista de los seres humanos. Por primera vez en mi vida estaba solo en un mundo cuyo comportamiento no podía predecir ni comprender: un mundo de pájaros que chillaban, de plantas que hedían, de insectos que saltaban a mi alrededor sin previo aviso. Estaba completamente perdido y no esperaba que me encontraran. Alcé la cabeza y grité; el sol me golpeó con fuerza en la cara como un abusón.

De esta pesadilla diurna, como de muchas otras, me despertó la aparición de mis hermanas. Subían por la empinada loma gritando y me encontraron al separar la hierba alta. Rostros de rosa familiares y vivos; inmensos rostros resplandecientes colgados como escudos entre el cielo y yo; risueños rostros de dientes blancos (algunos rotos) a los que se conjuraba como a los genios con un aullido y que eliminaban el terror con sus regañinas y su afecto. Se inclinaron hacia mí (una, dos, tres) con la boca manchada de grosellas rojas y las manos goteando jugo.

—Vamos, vamos, no pasa nada, no llores más. Iremos a casa y te atiborraremos de grosellas.

Y Marjorie, la mayor, me alzó hacia su largo cabello castaño y bajó corriendo conmigo el sendero, cruzó el empinado huerto lleno de rosales y me dejó en el umbral de la casa que era nuestro hogar, aunque yo no podía creerlo.

Ése fue el día que llegamos a la aldea el verano del último año de la Primera Guerra Mundial. A una casita que se alzaba en un huerto de medio acre, en una empinada loma, sobre un lago; una casa de tres plantas y sótano y un tesoro en los muros, con bomba de agua y manzanos, fresas y celinda, grajos en las chimeneas, ranas en el sótano, moho en el techo, y todo ello por tres chelines y seis peniques a la semana.

No sé dónde había vivido antes. Mi vida empezó en el carro que me llevó por las largas y suaves colinas hasta la aldea, me descargó en la hierba y me abandonó. Había hecho el viaje envuelto en una bandera inglesa para protegerme del sol, y nací precisamente entonces, creo, cuando me liberé de ella y empecé a gritar entre la ronroneante selva de aquella loma estival. Y aquel día fue también el inicio de una vida para los demás, para toda la familia, para los ocho miembros que la componíamos.

Pero aquel primer día todos estábamos perdidos. El caos llegaba en carretadas de muebles y yo gateaba por el suelo de la cocina entre bosques de sillas patas arriba y vidriosos campos de cristal. El oleaje nos había arrojado a una tierra nueva y empezamos a esparcirnos buscando sus manantiales y sus tesoros. Las hermanas pasaron las horas de luz de aquel primer día despojando los arbustos frutales del huerto. Las grosellas estaban en sazón, racimos de bayas rojas, negras y amarillas enredados con las rosas silvestres. Las chicas nunca habían visto tanta abundancia y corrían de matorral en matorral, gritando y arrancando los frutos como gorriones.

También nuestra madre se distrajo de sus deberes, seducida por la rica frondosidad natural de un huerto abandonado durante tanto tiempo. Correteó todo el día de un lado a otro, ruborosa y locuaz, poniendo flores en todos los potes y jarras que encontraba en el suelo de la cocina. Flores del huerto, margaritas de la ladera, perifollo silvestre, hierbas, helechos y follaje (entraban en brazadas por la puerta hasta que el interior en penumbra parecía poseído totalmente por el mundo exterior), un tranquilo estanque verde inundado por las dulces mareas del verano.

Yo estaba sentado en el suelo entre aquel batiburrillo de objetos diversos y miraba por la ventana verde inundada por el pujante huerto. Veía las medias negras de las chicas, su piel blanca asomando arriba, entre los groselleros. Cada poco, una de ellas entraba corriendo en la cocina, me llenaba la bocaza de puñados de bayas espachurradas y salía otra vez corriendo. Y yo pedía más cuanto más comía. Era como alimentar a un polluelo de cuclillo gordinflón.

El largo día chirriaba, cacareaba y resonaba. Nadie hacía ningún trabajo, y no había nada para comer salvo bayas y pan. Yo gateaba por el suelo extraño entre objetos de adorno: peces de cristal, pastores, pastoras y perros de porcelana, jinetes de bronce, relojes parados, barómetros y fotografías de individuos barbudos. Los invoqué uno tras otro, porque eran los rostros y los relicarios de un paisaje semirrecordado. Pero mientras veía el sol que recorría las paredes dibujando arcoíris en las jarras de cristal tallado del rincón, anhelaba que volviera el orden.

Luego, súbitamente, el día había terminado y la casa estaba amueblada. Palos y tazas y cuadros estaban clavados inamoviblemente en su lugar. Las camas estaban hechas; las cortinas, en las ventanas; las esteras de paja extendidas en el suelo: la casa era el hogar. No recuerdo haber visto cómo sucedía; pero, de pronto, se hizo presente la inexorable tradición de nuestra casa, con su olor, su caos, su lógica total, como si nunca hubiera sido de otro modo. Su orden y su disposición llegaron como el anochecer de aquel primer día. Todos los objetos esparcidos por el suelo de la cocina en una precaria soledad volaron a su sitio, que nunca volvió a ponerse en entredicho.

Y a partir de aquel día crecimos. La disposición doméstica de la casa se vio perturbada varias veces, como uno de esos juguetes en cuyo interior cae una gran nevada cuando los mueves, y camas, sillas y ornamentos se desplazaban de una habitación a otra perseguidos por las impetuosas energías de madre y de las chicas. Pero todo se reordenaba siempre dentro de la pauta de las paredes, nada escapaba ni cambiaba, y así siguió siendo veinte años.

Yo medía aquel primer año de crecimiento por los campos más amplios que se me hacían visibles, por las nuevas habilidades para vestirme y desenvolverme que iba dominando poco a poco. Podía abrir la puerta de la cocina haciéndome un ovillo, saltando luego y dando con el puño en el pestillo. Podía subirme a la cama alta usando los barrotes de hierro como escalera. Sabía silbar, pero no sabía atarme los cordones de los zapatos. La vida se convirtió en una serie de experimentos que aportaban dolor o las recompensas del éxito: un tantear de pautas y misterios en la casa, mientras el tiempo colgaba dorado y suspenso y el propio cuerpo asumía, de saltar y trepar, la insensata rigidez de un insecto, petrificado, como si dijéramos, horas seguidas, respirando y observando. Viendo caer las motas de polvo en la habitación bañada por el sol, siguiendo a una hormiga desde su cuna hasta la tumba, recorriendo los nudos del techo del dormitorio que corrían como negros en la penumbra del amanecer o se movían furtivos de tabla en tabla, pero que se asentaban de nuevo en la luz pálida del día, no más monstruosos que fósiles en carbón.

Los nudos del techo del dormitorio eran el ámbito completo de un mundo que yo recorría con la mirada sin cesar a la larga luz prístina del despertar a la que el niño está condenado. Eran archipiélagos en un mar de barniz rojizo, eran ejércitos agrupados y unidos contra mí, eran el alfabeto de una lengua macabra: el primer libro que aprendí a leer.

Saliendo de aquella casa de muros ruinosos, golpes y sombras, zorros imaginarios bajo el suelo, avancé por caminos que se alargaban centímetro a centímetro a medida que mis días aumentaban. Desplazaba de piedra en piedra, por el corral sin sendas, la lapa de mis sentidos, surcando océanos insondables como un salvaje de los Mares del Sur saltando de isla en isla a través del Pacífico. Las antenas de los ojos y de la nariz y los ávidos dedos capturaban un nuevo hacecillo de hierba tierna, una babosa, un helecho, el cráneo de un ave, una cueva de brillantes caracoles. En las largas eras estivales de aquellos primeros días, amplié mi mundo y lo cartografié mentalmente: sus puertos seguros, sus polvorientos desiertos y sus charcos, sus promontorios y sus matorrales. Volviendo además una y otra vez con la garganta seca a sus diversos horrores bien provistos de espinas: los huesos mondos de un pájaro en su jaula de palitos viejos; las moscas negras del rincón, viscosas, muertas; las secas mudas de culebras; y la populosa ciudad pútrida, rugiente y muda de un gato muerto presa de los gusanos.

Estas reliquias, una vez vistas, pasaban a integrarse en los confines de los territorios conocidos, se recordaban con un zumbido en los oídos, volvías a verlas cuando tenías suficiente estómago. Eran las primeras víctimas tangibles de aquella fuerza destructora cuya tarea sabía yo que continuaba día y noche, aunque nunca pudiese sorprenderla en ella. En realidad, les estaba agradecido. Aunque rondaban en mis ojos y se enredaban en mis sueños, atenuaron las primeras e infinitas posibilidades de horror. Disciplinaron la imaginación con la prueba de un horror limitado.

Desde el fondeadero de la puerta de la trascocina estudié yo las rocas, los escollos y los canales en los que residía la seguridad. Descubrí la pirámide física de la casa, sus almacenes y laberintos, sus centros de magia y los de la fértil isla-huerto verde en que se alzaba. Mi madre y mis hermanas pasaban ante mí bogando como galeones con sus trajes ondulantes, y aprendí a identificar los olores y sonidos que dejaban en su estela, el oleaje de su aliento, el aroma a fenol, la canción y el susurro, el golpeteo de cacharros.

Qué espléndidas parecían aquellas chicas altísimas con las velas desplegadas, el cabello al viento, las blusas hinchadas, los blancos mástiles de sus brazos desnudos para trabajar o lavar. Te abordaban en cualquier momento y te besuqueaban y te abotonaban y te alzaban como un pez culebreante al que prender y sujetar sobre su ropa delicada.

La trascocina era una mina de todos los minerales de la vida. En ella descubrí el agua: un elemento muy distinto a la hedionda porquería verdosa de la tina del huerto. Podía bombearse y salía a borbotones azules y puros de la tierra, podías columpiarte en la manilla de la bomba y salía chispeando como cielo líquido. Y se dispersaba y corría y brillaba o temblaba en un jarro o te impregnaba la ropa de frío. Podías beberla, dibujar con ella, sacarle espuma con jabón, echar escarabajos a nadar en ella, hacerla volar en burbujas por el aire. Podías meter la cabeza en ella y abrir los ojos y ver combarse los lados del cubo y oír rugir tu aliento contenido, mover la boca como un pez y oler la cal del fondo. Mágica sustancia, que se podía separar o usar, encerrar o esparcir o verter en agujeros, pero nunca quemar, romper ni destruir.

La trascocina era agua, donde estaba la vieja bomba. Y contenía todo lo demás que se relacionaba con el agua: denso vapor de los lunes con filo de almidón; jabonaduras hirviendo, hinchándose y estallando, crujiendo y susurrando, irisadas de luz y pestañeando con un millón de ventanas. Bulle bulle, tunde y gruñe, enjuagar y batir de sábanas y camisas, y madre jadeante con los brazos rojos como remos en el vaporoso oleaje. Luego la prenda blanca aparecía al extremo de un palo, surgiendo de la olla como masa de repostería o espuma de jabón tejida o capas de nieve moldeada.

También se hacía allí el fregado de suelos y botas, de brazos y cuellos, de hortalizas blancas y rojas. Entrabas al desorden matinal de aquella habitación y todo el huerto estaba desplegado y goteante en la mesa. Zanahorias cortadas como moneditas de cobre, rábanos y cebollinos, patatas mojadas y peladas, limpias ya de las capas de barro, el chasquido de las prietas vainas de los guisantes, alargadas conchas de perlas verdes, y la extracción de glutinosas habas de sus nidos lanudos.

Te ibas volviendo furtivo, merodeando entre aquellos preparativos, te abrías paso a mordisquitos entre hojas y raíces como una rata. Los guisantes rodaban en la lengua, un helado frescor, como agua sólida; masticabas mondas verdes de manzana, una punzada ácida; y la fécula blanca y dulzona de los nabos. Expulsado a golpes de húmedas manos enguantadas de harina, volvías allí con una avidez muda y arisca. Caían tiras de masa cruda moldeada, caliente, con formas de hombres y mujeres: cabezas y brazos de carne sin salar, sazonadas sólo con un sueño de canibalismo.

En aquella estancia se preparaban comidas abundantes, calderadas de guisos para el apetito insaciable de ocho personas. Guisos de todo cuanto crecía en aquellas fértiles lomas; sazonados con salvia, coloreados con Oxo y reforzados con algunos huesos de cordero. La carne escaseaba en aquellos tiempos, ciertamente; a veces, una libra de costillas mondas para el caldo, o el esporádico conejo que dejaba a en la puerta algún vecino. Pero siempre había hortalizas en sazón de mucho peso, y lentejas y pan como lastre. Llegaban de ocho a diez hogazas todos los días a la casa y nunca había pan duro. Las partíamos en trozos con la corteza todavía caliente y alegraban su monotonía los objetos que hallábamos en ellas: cuerda, clavos, papel y, una vez, un ratón; pues aquéllos eran tiempos de horneo despreocupado. Las lentejas se hervían en una gran olla en la que también se calentaba el agua para los baños del sábado por la noche. Nuestro pequeño fogón de leña sólo podía calentar agua suficiente para un baño que había que compartir. Como yo era el penúltimo, debía utilizar siempre el agua el penúltimo, y las implicaciones de semejante privilegio me acompañan todavía.

Al despertar una mañana en el dormitorio encalado, abrí los ojos y descubrí que estaba ciego. Aunque los forzaba y miraba hacia donde debía estar la habitación, solamente veía un resplandor dorado pegado a los párpados palpitantes. Busqué mi cuerpo a tientas y estaba allí. Oía el canto de los pájaros. Pero no veía absolutamente nada, salvo la luz amarillenta temblorosa. Me pregunté si me habría muerto. ¿Estaría en el cielo? Fuese lo que fuese, no me gustaba nada. Me había despertado antes de tiempo de un sueño de cocodrilos y no estaba preparado para aquella nueva atrocidad. Entonces oí los pasos de las chicas en las escaleras.

—¡Marge! ¡No veo nada! —grité, y empecé a lanzar mi aullido.

Un palmoteo de pies descalzos recorrió el suelo y oí la risilla de mi hermana Marjorie.

—Míralo —decía—. Ve a buscar un pañito, Doth. Se le han pegado los ojos otra vez.

El borde frío del pañito que me pasaron por la cara me regó de agua y volví al mundo. La cama y las vigas y el sol en el cuadrado de la ventana y las chicas inclinadas sobre mí sonriendo.

—¿Quién ha sido? —grité.

—Nadie, tonto. Es que se te pegaron los ojos, nada más.

La dulce goma del sueño. Me había sucedido otras veces, pero lo olvidaba siempre, no sé por qué. Así que amenacé a las chicas con pegarles también los ojos a ellas. Estaba despierto, podía ver, me sentía feliz. Me quedé mirando por la ventanita verde. Fuera, el mundo era encarnado y estaba ardiendo. Nunca lo había visto así.

—Oye, Doth, ¿qué les pasa a los árboles? —dije.

Dorothy se estaba vistiendo. Se acercó a la ventana despacio, soñolienta, y la luz le traspasó el camisón como la arena un cedazo.

—Nada, no les pasa nada —me dijo.

—Claro que les pasa algo —dije—. Se están cayendo a trocitos.

Dorothy se rascó la cabeza oscura, con un gran bostezo, y le salieron plumas blancas flotando del pelo.

—Es que se les están cayendo las hojas —dijo—. Estamos en otoño. Y en otoño siempre se caen las hojas.

¿Otoño? En otoño. ¿Era allí donde estábamos? ¿Donde se caían siempre las hojas y había siempre aquel olor? Lo imaginé prolongándose para siempre sin cambio posible, aquellas llamas húmedas de bosque ardiendo sin parar como la zarza de Moisés, una parte tan natural de aquella tierra recién hallada como las nieves perpetuas de los Polos. ¿Por qué habíamos ido a aquel lugar?

Marjorie, que había bajado a ayudar a preparar el desayuno, volvía a subir de pronto las escaleras brincando.

—Doth —susurró. Parecía emocionada y asustada—: Doth… ha vuelto a venir. Ayuda a Loll a vestirse y baja, date prisa.

Bajamos y lo encontramos sentado junto al fuego, risueño, mojado y helado. Me subí a la mesa del desayuno y me quedé mirándolo, al forastero. Más que un hombre, me parecía un conglomerado de las cosas del bosque. Tenía la cara roja y arrugada, brillante como un hongo. Tenía hojas y barro en el pelo enmarañado y hojas y palitos por la ropa arrugada y por todo el cuerpo. Las botas eran como la pulpa negra que aparece cuando cavas debajo de un árbol. Madre le dio gachas y pan y él nos sonrió lánguidamente a todos.

—Tiene que haber sido muy duro en el bosque —dijo nuestra madre.

—Tengo algunos sacos, señora —dijo él, sin dejar de comer gachas—. Protegen de la humedad.

No protegían de la humedad. La absorbían como una mecha y le envolvían en ella.

—No debería vivir usted así —le dijo madre—. Debería volver a su casa.

—No —dijo el hombre, sonriendo—. No serviría de nada. Se me echarían encima antes de que pudiera abrir la boca.

Madre cabeceó con tristeza, suspiró y le sirvió más gachas. A los chicos nos encantaba el aspecto de aquel hombre; a las chicas, más remilgadas, les inspiraba recelo. Pero no era un

Has llegado al final de esta vista previa. ¡Regístrate para leer más!
Página 1 de 1

Reseñas

Lo que piensa la gente sobre Sidra con Rosie

4.2
20 valoraciones / 29 Reseñas
¿Qué te pareció?
Calificación: 0 de 5 estrellas

Reseñas de lectores

  • (4/5)
    Laurie is the nearly youngest of a large brood of kids growing up in a village in 1920s England. He has an, inexcusably imo, absent father and a mother understandably flustered and consumed by the task of living. Laurie charts his childhood so well. His memories are described in depth and colour and with all the significance attached, just like how we remember feeling things as a child. The freedoms of his childhood, roaming the village and the fields and woods, the matronly mollycoddling from his older sisters, school, scrapes, girls, church and growing up are all told with a lovely turn of phrase. The village he has known, and how it was for a thousand years before him, changes forever with the motor car. The close of his childhood coincides with this technological and social shake-up, and it leaves you with a sadness for the loss of a simpler time.
  • (5/5)
    Loved it :) I listened to this as an audiobook, and Laurie Lee read the book himself - it was just like listening to a collection of wonderful stories from my grandfather. The book tells the autobiographical tale of his early years growing up outside a rural village in the Cotswolds. When it first began, I had to pause the book to find out who on earth Laurie Lee actually was - and everything made sense when I discovered he was a poet (as well as screen-writer and novelist). The language was wonderfully rich and evocative, yet life goes on in a matter of fact way. When it ended I was terribly sad, as I could happily listen to Laurie telling me about his childhood for hours and hours.
  • (5/5)
    What a delightful, charming book which, despite being old-fashioned still entertains today. His prose is wonderful and it has some really chuckle-out-loud moments in it.
  • (5/5)
    A little gem: lyrical, funny, gentle and honest, sometimes shockingly so. To my shame, I had never heard of Cider with Rosie until a friend lent me it, based on a mutual taste in books and my recent adoration of Cold Comfort Farm. There are shades of Arthur Ransome's 'Swallows and Amazons' series as well as Edith Nesbit's various books (both authors firm favourites of mine whose works I regularly reread in adulthood), but this is more personal, a tad grittier, and shows life in rural England in the early decades of the 20th century from a lower socio-economic point of view, a little less middle class (although the Lee family seem in ways to straddle social boundaries.) I particularly have to mention the gorgeousness of the language and imagery, and the quality of character studies. Stunning. I'm convinced that I could open the book at any page and give an example of said excellence, and/or of the humour that permeates much of the text. Let's see...p.50The June air infected us with primitive hungers, grass-seed and thistle-down idled through the windows, we smelt the fields and were tormented by cuckoos, while every out-of-door sound that came drifting in was a sharp nudge in the solar plexus.p. 125When she (Mother) tired of this (walking to the shops), she'd borrow Dorothy's bicycle, though she never quite mastered the machine. Happy enough when the thing was in motion, it was stopping and starting that puzzled her. She had to be launched on her way by running parties of villagers; and to stop she road into a hedge. With the Stroud Co-op Stores, where she was a registered customer, she had come to a special arrangement. This depended for its success upon a quick ear and timing, and was a beautiful operation to watch. As she coasted downhill towards the shop's main entrance she would let out one of her screams; an assistant, specially briefed, would tear through the shop, out the side door, and catch her in his arms. He had to be both young and nimble, for if he missed her she piled up by the police-station.p. 63His curious, crooked, suffering face had at times the radiance of a saint, at others the blank watchfulness of an insect. He could walk by himself or keep very still, get lost or appear at wrong moments. He drew like an artist, wouldn't read or write, swallowed beads by the boxfull, sang and danced, was quite without fear, had secret friends, and was prey to terrible nightmares. Tony was the one true visionary amongst us, the tiny hermit no one quite understood...p. 130She grew them (plants) with rough, almost slap-dash love, but her hands possessed such an understanding of their needs they seemed to turn to her like another sun. She could snatch a dry root from field or hedgerow, dab it into the garden, give it a shake -- and almost immediately it flowered. One felt she could grow roses from a stick or chair-leg, so remarkable was this gift.I rest my case!
  • (2/5)
    This was a reading group book and it is unfortunately all the things that turn me off books - autobiography, lots and lots of description of nature et al and nothing actually happens.I can see why many people love it but it did nothing for me.
  • (3/5)
    A deserved classic. A personal history of disappearing English village life as the automobile and mechanisation changed rural life. Heavy on romanticism with great splashes and dollops of words dropped onto the page. It went on just long enough.
  • (4/5)
    I was forced to read 'Cider With Rosie' when I was at school, back when I was maybe twelve or thirteen. The thing is, I simply can't remember. I know that we had to read it in our English class, but of the plot or characters I could have told you nothing - hence my desire to re-read the book.'Cider With Rosie' is a pleasant read, crammed to bursting with magnificently-carved sentences and knowing allusions. It makes real a life and time that have long since disappeared from England, of village living when the cities were on the cusp of their outwards explosion.Though I am glad to have read the book, and can now tell people what it is about - a feat I couldn't have managed, I'm sure, on that distant first reading - I have to wonder who would have chosen this as a book to be studied at school. Fascinating though it is, it is at once to close and to remote to be of interest to anyone going through school themselves. When you're twelve or so you don't want to read about the lives lived by twelve-year-olds a hundred years ago, you want to escape into fantasy. You have to be older - like I am now - to get much from such a book.
  • (4/5)
    Beautifully written reminiscences of growing up in a village in the Cotswolds in the 1920s.
  • (5/5)
    "Never to be forgotten, that first long secret drink of golden fire,juice of these valleys and of that time,wine of wild orchards,of russet summer,of plump red apples,and Rosie's burning cheeks.Never to be forgotten, or ever tasted agin........."Firstly let me admit that I'm a fan of history and not just battles, Kings, Queens, dates etc but socila history as well. This is a book of a slice social history.We see a life set around the family kitchen, early school years,family and friends but in particular the various seasons of nature.'Cider With Rosie' is a tale of the author's early life growing up within a large family, without a real father figure influence,in a Cotswold village in and around the 1920s and is told from the standpoint of a child. However, in many respects it is a tale told in a series of short stories as it concentrates on differing elements of a simple and insular village life before the arrival of the motor car. Now I personally loved the chapter about the 'Grannies in the Wainscot' in particlar. Two old ladies, so differing in their characters who despite living as neighbours never once spoke to one another yet whose lives were regulated by each others very presence. It is not a story told with any real angst or through rose tinted glasses it is just told as it was, plainly and matter of factly just as is the rest of the book. We see a life set around the family kitchen, early school years,family and friends but in particular the various seasons.Laurie Lee was a poet and a screen-writer as well as a novelist and this shines through in his choice of language. It starts when the author is but a toddler recalling some of his earliest memories. Here his world is large, scary, cosy and baffling, a world dominated by females and the language reflects this. Lee's real skill is that as the child grows so does his vocabulary as in normal life but never does the child's voice leave it. The language is always beautiful and so suggestive it takes you in and wraps about you like a blanket.In many ways it is a book of nostalgia, a book of a by-gone time but it is also an illustration of writing about what you know. It is seen by many as a modern classic and rightly so IMHO.
  • (4/5)
    Delightful.
  • (4/5)
    A look at English village life in the 1920s. Quite charming but I think that I preferred Flora Thompson's trilogy Lark Rise to Candleford which I found similar.
  • (4/5)
    Cider with Rosie begins when Lee is just three years old. He belongs to a family of eight. Lee's father had eight children with his first wife (who died in childbirth) and four more with his housekeeper who became his second wife. Of the twelve children total, only eight survived. Lee's father may have left the family when Laurie was only three but his memories of childhood are simply magical regardless. I think he was raised with the expectation that his father would be back. Here is one memory about sleeping with his mother as a toddler: "They were deep and jealous, those wordless nights, as we curled and muttered together, like a secret I held through the waking day which set me above all others" (p 22).Cider with Rosie is a study in innocence. Lee sees the world as a place of discovery. Even when he was thought to be on death's door he analyzed all that was around him. I won't spoil what the title means except to say it's the end of innocence.
  • (3/5)
    This is not a fast-paced adventure book but it does create a beautiful picture of quiet country lanes, honeysuckle on the breeze and both the wonders and tragedies of living so far out in a world controlled solely by the forces of nature.
    It's a lovely portrait of childhood innocence and growing up, after reading it I got a desperate urge to visit the Cotswolds. The world of childhood is a very small bubble and this takes that alongside the equally small world in which this novel is set and it creates the idea of a place quite apart from the rest of the world, almost secretive.
    Did you ever make a secret den in the countryside when you were a child? If so, imagine crawling into it to discover that it led to a secret world that kept to itself and the outside didn't know about... that's the feeling you get about the setting of the novel, like you've crawled into a secret world. And what's more, it's completely real. A beautiful story.
    So why did it only get three stars? Because as much as I marveled at this beautiful world that the author told of so wonderfully, nothing much happened. It's a very sweet and subtle story but it could lead to boredom at times. I don't regret reading it though.
  • (4/5)
    Laurie is the nearly youngest of a large brood of kids growing up in a village in 1920s England. He has an, inexcusably imo, absent father and a mother understandably flustered and consumed by the task of living. Laurie charts his childhood so well. His memories are described in depth and colour and with all the significance attached, just like how we remember feeling things as a child. The freedoms of his childhood, roaming the village and the fields and woods, the matronly mollycoddling from his older sisters, school, scrapes, girls, church and growing up are all told with a lovely turn of phrase. The village he has known, and how it was for a thousand years before him, changes forever with the motor car. The close of his childhood coincides with this technological and social shake-up, and it leaves you with a sadness for the loss of a simpler time.
  • (5/5)
    wonderfully written book. Laurie Lee is an artist with words. His ability to draw the scenes for you and to bring the characters to life is amazing. A child's eye view of growing up in a remote village (Slad), his interactions with the people around him and his experiences. Lee is a poet. The chapter on the two old folks who have lived together almost all their lives and then fall ill and are separated is one of the most perfect chapters I have read in any book.
  • (5/5)
    One of the most loved books of the 20th century, this tell us of a Cotswold childhood in the early part of the century, when country life had remained unchanged for hundreds of years. Told in a lyrical prose, with humour and tragedy, and unforgetable characters in this small village. The auther was born during the first world war, and it's shadow enters into a way of life that would soon change forever.
  • (5/5)
    Laurie Lee grew up in a rural part of England during thetime just after the Great War. His father abandoned his mother witheight children to raise. Lee was almost always hungry and cold. Butlife never seemed hard; somehow it seemed joyous and delightful.I was especially taken with the chapter about the devilments childrenand young people got into during Lee's time. Back in Lee's day, astoday, terrible things happened. But somehow the village and itspeople just seemed to deal with them, not making them into events ofenormous evil as we seem to do today.I loved reading about the day to day living of Lee during hischildhood. Everything seemed so much more alive then, with things totaste and touch and smell. Lee revels in his life. The stories hetells makes the time seem glorious.
  • (5/5)
    Charming remembrance of a time gone bye.
  • (5/5)
    A wonderful evocation of an entirely vanished world. Magical.
  • (4/5)
    This is an autobiography of Laurie Lee. It takes place in the 1920's and 1930's, in a small village in England. The author has a masterful way with words. You walk alongside of him in the village, see the people as he saw them and feel the drama of his youth. It is not a polished rosy view of a small village, but an honest look at the warts and bumps which people carry with them throughout life. The story makes you think. I'm not sure I agree with the author's conclusions, some of the stories are downright horrifying to me, but it did leave me pondering life and what we mean to each other.
  • (5/5)
    Marvellous. Makes me want to go scrumping and keep a slice of buttered bread in my pocket. A deeply moving book, comic and upsetting in turns.
  • (5/5)
    Absolutely spell binding. I reread it as an adult and got so much more out of it than I did as a teenager. Wonderfully evocative (but not overly sentimental) view of a lost way of life (circa 1920)
  • (4/5)
    It is 1917 and Laurie Lee and his family have just arrived in the village of Slad in Gloucestershire for the first time. Their new home is nestled deep in the valley, warmed by open fires and water is got from a pump outside the back door. It is two families that have come together, the elder children are from the first marriage; his father re-married when their mother died, and had a second family before going off to war. Even though his father is not there, it is a happy childhood. The war reaches its end and the village celebrates; the family lives in hope of seeing their father again now it has ended. It was not to be.

    Soon he was old enough to attend school. It was split into two classes, infants and Big Ones, separated by a partition. It was here that he was brought together with all the characters of the village and started to forge friendships that would remain with him. The teachers were very different to those today, harsher and often brutal, they had little scope for tolerance, demanding only obedience. Life in a rural community was as much about the daily life and way that the seasons slowed moved on slowly. Singing carols around the village at Christmas starting with the squire, skating on the frozen pond, to the balmy days of summer spent playing games in the fields.

    Its roots clutched the slope like a giant hand, holding the hill in place. Its trunk writhed with power, threw off veils of green dust, rose towering into the air, branched into a thousand shaded alleys, became a city for owls and squirrels. I had thought such trees to be as old as the earth, I never dreamed that a man could make them.

    Lee is such a lyrical author, writing about this tiny piece of England that was forever changed after the First World War. It is not shown through rose tinted glasses; this was tough at times, death was a frequent occurrence in his family and with neighbours and other villagers. The hard work was tempered by simple pleasures. This glimpse of a time long past, of a place that he loved and made him the man he was to become when he walked away at the age of 19. Thoughly enjoyable book that is really too short.
  • (4/5)
    Crazy memoir of a unique family in western England in the early 20th century.
  • (5/5)
    Cider With Rosie is a series of sketches about the author's childhood in the Gloucestershire village of Slad. I've never been to England but Laurie Lee's amazing poetry/prose makes it seem real. It's heavy with sentimentality and romanticism, a dangerous trap for many writers, but it seems to work in this case, like Jello-mold with Turkey dinner. Lee was among the first generation of what we call "modern", he is an ambassador to a time and traditions now gone, old enough to see its passing but young enough to adapt to the new world. I was fortunate to listen to the unabridged reading by Lee himself, which gives the added dimension of hearing to an old man happily recounting the days of his youth. A remarkable work all the more so since it was published in 1959, it could have been published at any time, and will no doubt continue to be read for generations to come.
  • (3/5)
    The village...was like a deep-running cave still linked to its antic past, a cave whose shadows were cluttered by spirits and by laws still vaguely ancestral. This cave that we inhabited looked backwards through chambers that led to our ghostly beginnings; and had not, as yet, been tidied up, or scrubbed clean by electric light, or suburbanized by a Victorian church or papered by cinema screens.It was something we just had time to inherit, to inherit and dimly know – the blood and beliefs of generations who had been in the valley since the Stone Age. That continuous contact has at last been broken, the deeper caves sealed off forever. But arriving, as I did, at the end of that age, I caught whiffs of something old as the glaciers.In this memoir, Laurie Lee recalls with nostalgia his childhood in a Gloucestershire village from the tail end of the First World War into the 1920s. Lee gives the impression that he was compelled to preserve his memories because his was the last generation to experience village life in the pattern it had followed for centuries. The technological advances following World War I irrevocably changed this pattern.The oversized illustrated edition wasn't the read I expected it to be. The photographs are too small to easily make out details, and many of the reproductions of paintings are blurry. The book is too large to hold comfortably, so I could only read a chapter or two at a time. The book just didn't flow for me. I wouldn't recommend the illustrated edition to other first-time readers.
  • (4/5)
    This is Lee's autobiography of his childhood, from his first memories to when his older sisters began marrying. His first memories are from the end of WWI, an era when horses, the Squire, walking 4 miles to the shops, playing instruments for entertainment, and leaving school at 14 were the norm. This book is also a bit of a love letter to a thousands-year-old lifestyle he was one of the last to experience. By the time he was 12 (1920s), cars existed. Soon busses came to town, horses were not so needed, radios took over from instruments. School became more standardized. The squire died and his nephew split the land. No longer was a trip to Gloucester or the sea an annual (if that) experience. No longer was there a 4-mile walk to town. People began to leave, rather than stay in the same town as their grandparents.Lee realized his memories were not just his missing his childhood--he was also missing the fact that no one in England has that childhood any more.———Fun fact: the back of my lbrary copy says "Recalling life in a remote Costwold village some 50 years ago." My edition was printed in 1979 from a 1962 original (constant reprints from 62 to 79). So, it is itself 35 years old now. Lee was born in 1914, so we are approaching 100 years from the first memories in this book.(Very sweet, mom might like this.)
  • (4/5)
    Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee is the first book in a trilogy of the authors memoirs. It is followed by As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning and A Moment of War. This first volume deals with the author’s boyhood in a rural English village, and it’s gentle descriptive draws the reader into a long forgotten time and place. The author obviously had fond memories of both the place and his family as they are portrayed with affection in this chronicle. There are some darker matters in the book, such as the father being noticeably absent having basically abandoned his family and the brutal beating of a stranger to the village, but mostly this is a fondly told memoir of growing up in a large, loving family with lots of light and laughter. The author often uses humor in his descriptions of both the local characters and of the day-to-day activities of his family. This is definitely not a book for action lovers but it is a lovely ready with some absolutely spellbinding descriptive passages. Cider With Rosie captures a precise moment in time, one that is on the verge of change and the author’s nostalgic imagery is both atmospheric and haunting. Poetic and charming, this coming-of-age story was the perfect read to curl up with on a long winter’s day.
  • (4/5)
    Cider with Rosie is English poet Laurie Lee's story of his childhood in a small village in the Cotswolds. It begins in June 1918 when Lee was just three years old and his family had just moved to the countryside. There are seven in the household: Lee's mother, his three older half-sisters, and his two brothers, one older and one younger. Laurie's father is away at war, but even though he survives the war, he chooses to live apart the rest of his life and rarely sees his children.Much of Lee's memoir is devoted to painting a portrait of the English village in its primitive and self-sufficient isolation, a way of life that will come to an end before young Laurie reaches adulthood. It was a time "when the village was the world and its happenings all I knew. The village in fact was like a deep-running cave still linked to its antic past, a cave whose shadows were cluttered by spirits and by laws still vaguely ancestral. This cave that we inhabited looked backwards through chambers that led to our ghostly beginnings; and had not, as yet, been tidied up, or scrubbed clean by the electric light, or suburbanized by a Victorian church, or papered by cinema screens."Lee also gives us his poet's impression of the natural world and the passage of the seasons. He describes winter in his valley as, not a change of seasons, but of another place. "And somehow one never remembered the journey towards it; one arrived, and winter was here. The day came suddenly when all the details were different and the village had to be rediscovered."Except for a chronic lung disease, young Laurie's life is typical for its time and place. There is the toddler's gradual realization that he is not the center of the universe, his first reluctant days in school, playground fights, secret escapades, holidays, church festivals, family outings, weird neighbors and relatives, village crimes and scandals, and a young man's first sexual experiences. Regarding the latter, Lee has some interesting observations. "As for us boys, it is certain that most of us, at some stage or other of our growth, would have been rounded up under current law, and quite a few shoved into reform school.... It is not crime that has increased, but its definition. The modern city, for youth, is a police trap."Cider with Rosie is a beautifully told, simple but revealing tale of English country life in the 1920s. It shows us a way of life forever destroyed, according to the author, by the coming of the automobile, bringing Bristol and London as close as the next town, and spelling the end of the cultural, social and religious traditions that defined the village.