Driving Over Lemons

Driving Over Lemons : An Optimist in Spain

3.79 (10,562 ratings by Goodreads)
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No sooner had Chris Stewart set eyes on El Valero than he handed over a check. Now all he had to do was explain to Ana, his wife that they were the proud owners of an isolated sheep farm in the Alpujarra Mountains in Southern Spain. That was the easy part. Lush with olive, lemon, and almond groves, the farm lacks a few essentials--running water, electricity, an access road. And then there's the problem of rapacious Pedro Romero, the previous owner who refuses to leave. A perpetual optimist, whose skill as a sheepshearer provides an ideal entrée into his new community, Stewart also possesses an unflappable spirit that, we soon learn, nothing can diminish. Wholly enchanted by the rugged terrain of the hillside and the people they meet along the way--among them farmers, including the ever-resourceful Domingo, other expatriates and artists--Chris and Ana Stewart build an enviable life, complete with a child and dogs, in a country far from home.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 124 x 212 x 14mm | 277g
  • Vintage Books
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Vintage Departures ed.
  • 0375709150
  • 9780375709159
  • 72,504

Flap copy

Driving Over Lemons" is the contagiously entertaining account of one couple's beginning a new life as they turn a rundown peasant farm in southern Spain into a home.
When Chris Stewart first sees El Valero, he's willing to overlook its lack of electricity, running water, or access road. Assured that he's bought "a paradise for pennies," he phones his wife, Ana, still in England, whose enthusiasm is a little more tempered. Together they embark on an undertaking that includes rebuilding the house, feeding and housing a former owner reluctant to leave, the threat of drought (and flood), a cultural misunderstanding, and the creation of a whole new, fulfilling, enviable life
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Review quote

"Take half a cup of Bill Bryson, mix with three tablespoons of Peter Mayle, then add just a pinch of Monty Python, and what you get is Driving Over Lemons."- Chicago Tribune "A wonderful antidote to...modern electronic life. I love this book."-Peter Mayle, author of A Year in Provence "This funny book is required reading for anyone who has ever dreamed of taking up the pastoral life in a foreign country."- Travel & Leisure "The ability to write hilarious travelogues... may well be a national characteristic [of the English]. It's certainly possessed by Chris Stewart."- The New York Times Book Review
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About Chris Stewart

Chris Stewart lives in Spain with his wife, Ana, and daughter, Chloë. From the Hardcover edition.
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Rating details

10,562 ratings
3.79 out of 5 stars
5 25% (2,684)
4 38% (4,035)
3 28% (2,976)
2 6% (681)
1 2% (186)

Our customer reviews

My wife bought this book about ten years ago having heard a review on Radio 2. She enjoyed reading it and so did I. More than that, it inspired us to move to Spain. I must admit, though, that we didn´t entirely follow in Chris Stewart's footsteps - working a farm in the Alpujarras sounded like much too much hard work so we relocated to the coast instead. However, intrigued by Chris Stewart's book we began to explore the Alpujarras and during the last eight years have spent many enjoyable days in that delightful region. Recently, I reread "Driving Over Lemons" and still found it a funny, heartwarming book. In fact I enjoyed it more the second time around because I have visited some of the places and seen some of the things described - hillsides covered with olive and almond trees; the Moorish influenced houses that appear to cling precariously to the mountainsides; the acequias designed to bring water from the high Sierra to irrigate the crops and much more! However, this book isn't your normal travelogue - it is an autobiography of an eternally optimistic Englishman starting a new life in Andalucía. It is a great read that describes both the highs and the lows of starting a new life in Spain.show more
by Robert Bovington
What fun - I love Spain and it is full of crazy people like the Stewarts.show more
by Edmund George Edwards
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