Tapas: A Spanish Interlude


224 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 0-9698752-0-7
DDC 946.083





Reviewed by John Walker

John Walker is a professor of Spanish studies at Queen’s University.


For many Canadians, getting away from it all usually means a weekend at
the cottage. The Doucet family from New Brunswick, after an unhappy
business venture in Canada, decided to move to Almerнa province in
Spain. Initially, the family of 13 intended to spend only one year
there, but ended up staying for nine.

This pleasant memoir of that Spanish interlude, written by the mother
and symbolized by the tapas (little snacks served in Spanish bars),
consists of Eugénie Doucet’s letters to the family in Canada, and her
memories and impressions of the southern province from 1974 to 1982. The
book is divided into three parts, which cover the family’s stay in
Aguadulce (a fishing community soon to be commercialized), Beninar (a
mountain village soon to be demolished for a dam), and Berja (a town as
old as the pre-Christian era). As Acadian Catholics, the Doucets were
quite at home with Spanish customs, religious festivals, church rites,
family values, domestic customs, and similar phenomena. Eugénie’s
comments on other matters, like gypsies, transportation, food, beauty
parlors, toilets, sewing, and hog-buying, are often humorous and always
interesting. But it is through her straightforward style and wry
commentary that she captures many of the most interesting aspects of
Spanish life.


Doucet, Eugénie., “Tapas: A Spanish Interlude,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 20, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/1070.