Saturday, May 18, 2013

G37 Book Review of The Castilian Suite by Graham Blackburn

Name of Book: The Castilian Suite

Author: Graham Blackburn

ISBN: 978-1-892585-07-3

Publisher: Blackburn Books

Type of book: Europe, America, 1961-1985, multi-generational, composing, rising to greatness, secrets, family, survival

Year it was published: 2012


In 1961 General√≠ssimo Franco is still dictator of Spain and Roger Coulter is on his way to Madrid with the beauiful Sarah to write ‘The Castilian Suite’. Youthful enthusiasm is no match for the harsh realities of life, however, and composing gives way to a hand-to-mouth existence of scalping tickets to the bullfight, pimping in the Barrio Chino, and an eventual return to a life of rowdy gigs in West Indian and Irish bars in London. Tragedy ensues in New York, followed by corruption in Los Angeles before Roger Coulter can return to his dream.


I couldn't really connect to any of the characters in the book. Roger desires to be a composer and write a work entitled The Castilian Suite; Carmen comes from a strict Catholic background who has some sort of affection for Roger, and the two play a game of marriage or not while Roger is trying to get his bearings. Juan-Miguel is their son that was raised by Carmen's grandparents and doesn't know either of his parents; Sarah is Roger's first love and abandons him when they arrive to Madrid. These are the only things I know about the characters. There is not a lot about their personalities.


I'm not sure what I should have learned from it, perhaps the genius versus reality, and how things are not as attainable as one hopes. (Most of the book is focused in 1960s and on Roger's succession of different jobs.)


This is written in third person narrative, almost 98 percent from Roger's point of view, and few others are from Roger's son, Carmen and Sarah. While I liked the scenery and learning interesting things from the book, the characters were the weakest aspect for me.

Author Information:

London, The United Kingdom



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Graham Blackburn

Fiction, Non Fiction, New Young Adult

Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, Kingsley Amis, Jorge Luis Borges, S...more

member since
August 2012

About this author

Graham Blackburn is the author of 'The Castilian Suite' and 'For Love or Money?'.

He is also well known as a author and illustrator of numerous books on woodworking, furnituremaking, housebuilding, sailing, and philately.


I looked forward to reading this book and from appearances it was something to look forward to. However, when I started to read it, the book was not what I thought it would be. It should have been about a genius future composer who wanted to get wealthy by composing The Castilian Suite, however through many trials and tribulations he kept procrastinating with it. Not too bad, many people procrastinate with things. I think the author also tried to have three women influence Roger, but there was lack of romance and passion from the women towards Roger, or from Roger towards the women. The story focused more on time passing rather than on characters and how they changed throughout the years.

Quick notes: I won this book on thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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