Walking in the Pyrenees one spring morning Matthew Parris stumbled upon a magnificent ruined mansion standing on the edge of a line of huge cliffs. Later he was to discover that parts of the house dated back to the thirteenth century, though it had not been completed until 1559; and that it had survived two massive earthquakes before falling into disrepair in the early 1950s.
A few years later, seduced by 'one of those foolish challenges that grip us in middle life', Parris bought the house, L'Avenc, and set about restoring it to its full glory. This delightful book chronicles it all: the original discovery, the attempts to discover its history, and the long effortful years trying to bring it back to life in the face of scepticism from family, friends and Catalan neighbours. The original edition of A Castle in Spain was published in 2005, when the renovations were a work in progress; this new edition triumphantly records all that has happened since.
'A class of its own.' Guardian
'So infectious is his enthusiasm for L'Avenc and the dramatic, unvisited landscape of Collsacabra, that I wanted to leave at once [to explore it] . . . And it's all just a few miles away from the Costa Brava!' Christopher Hudson, Daily Mail