Red Sky at Sunrise Cider with Rosie; As I Walked Out One

Red Sky at Sunrise Cider with Rosie; As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning; A Moment of War Spanning the first twenty three years of his remarkable life Laurie Lee's celebrated autobiographical trilogy is presented here in one delightful volume Beginning with Cider with Rosie Laurie Lee writes evocatively of his idyllic childhood in the Cotswolds of the twenties a world of rich sensuousness and native innocence As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning picks up the story as he leaves his valley for London and then for Spain There euipped only with a violin and his wits he crossed the dramatic landscape of a vibrant and still almost medieval Spain for which he developed an abiding affection In the winter of 1937 he returned to a country now in the grip of Civil War and joined the International Brigade describing in A Moment of War his journey into the dark side of Spain with unsparing honesty and poignancy

10 thoughts on “Red Sky at Sunrise Cider with Rosie; As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning; A Moment of War

  1. Tracey Tracey says:

    This has got to be one of the most beautifully written books that I've ever read The author was first and foremost a poet and the prose he has written here reads like a gentle lyrical love poem to a time a place a life forever lostI knew I was going to love it from the opening paragraph when 3 year old Laurie is set down from a cart in some long grass he is bewildered and terrified;' The June grass amongst which I stood was taller than I was and I wept I had never been so close to grass before It towered above me and all around me each blade tattooed with tiger skins of sunlight It was knife edged dark and a wicked green thick as a forest and alive with grasshoppers that chirped and chattered and leapt through the air like monkeys'His first day at school leaves him upset and angry as his teacher sits him down at a desk and tells him to 'just sit there for the present' When he gets home crying his Mum asks what has happened and little Laurie tells her that he was told he would get a present if he sat in his seat and he hasn't got one The part about the 2 old ladies Granny Trill and Granny Wallon had me laughing with delight I won't spoil anything but suffice to say one lived above the other and there was 'animosity' between them They referred to each other only as Er Down Under and Er Up Atop the varmint'Another part that had me crying with laughter was when the whole village went for a day trip in a Charabanc They left their little village near Stoud in the Cotswolds for a seaside trip to Western super Mare On arriving they halted on the promenade The seaside they said We gazed around us but we saw no sign of the seaWe saw a vast blue sky and an infinity of mud stretching away to the shadows of Wales As I've been to Western many times I can absolutely verify that the sea never comes in there Well at least not when children want it to ;This book is phenomenal It has brought up so many memories for me from my childhood and a longing for those lost times Every word resounds with beauty and his descriptions of nature as he sees it blew my mind; 'Bees blew like cake crumbs through the golden air white butterflies like sugared wafers and when it wasn't raining a diamond dust took over which veiled and yet magnified all things' I'm going to stop here and will finish with the thought that; memories aren't always reliable and indeed can a person relate verbatim what happened in their childhood? These are the memories of Lauri lee as he remembers them and whether embellished with fantasy or all factual the story he has told is perfect5 whopping from me and a place on my books I'm passionate about shelf I will read the second part of this in March and the third in May and review the separately

  2. Manray9 Manray9 says:

    With Red Sky at Sunrise Laurie Lee's autobiographical trilogy comes together into one volume The first book Cider with Rosie is an ode to an idyllic childhood in a Gloucestershire village in the twenties and thirties When wanderlust prodded Lee into undertaking life on the road in the second book As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning he tramped as a casual laborer in London and then across Spain as a busking fiddler His Spanish travels led to the third book A Moment of War recounting his bumbling stint in the army of the Spanish Republic during the civil war of the late thirties Lee did not join the fight out of anti fascist zeal His enlistment followed a confused love affair compounded by a bewildered naiveté which almost got him shot on than one occasionLee's trilogy especially the first volume is heartwarming He evokes a wistful nostalgia for a way of life forever gone and captures the poignancy of time's passage and its impact upon those people and places close to our hearts Lee wrote “The last days of my childhood were also the last days of the village I belonged to that generation which saw by chance the end of a thousand years' life” He regretted the loss – and succeeded in making the reader regret it tooAs a chronicle of one young man's transition from an isolated and self sufficient existence into the midst of the world's murky struggle against the dark forces of modernity Lee's story is humorous and moving He recounts the conversion from the old ways to the new – and does so with lyrical prose and consummate pacing I recommend Red Sky at Sunrise to readers of all ages Laurie Lee's autobiographical trilogy earned a Four Star position on my bookshelf

  3. Michael Michael says:

    I first read Cider with Rosie at school and enjoyed it identifying with the author's portrayal of childhood I suppose When I re read it as an adult and a father I was overwhelmed by the yearning nostalgia of Lee's prose But there is no mawkish sentimentality here no idyll In places there is a lurking murderous undercurrent a burgeoning and threatening sexuality that had gone over my head when I read the book at school What comes across so strongly is Lee's sense of affection for and of belonging to a place and time that has forever vanished Cider with Rosie is not just one of the best books ever written about childhood it is for me one of the best books ever written As I Walked Out Midsummer Morning sees Lee's leave taking of his village home in the Cotswold countryside and his entry into the bigger world It's a transition from a rural lifestyle that had not significantly changed for hundreds of years to the modern twentieth century urban environment Having seen the big city Lee wants to see of the world and we are therefore gifted with his wondrously brilliant sketch of Spain The heat and light of the Spanish plains seems to pour off the page and you feel transported A Moment of War continues from the point the previous volume ended but the tone is very different In an unusually cold Spanish winter Lee joins the International Brigade in the Republican struggle against General Franco's fascists Lee shows the horrible futility wastefulness and arbitrariness of war unflinchingly This easily stands beside Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves as a great literary war memoir A downbeat ending to the trilogy but nonetheless affecting

  4. Mario Hinksman Mario Hinksman says:

    If you wanted an example of a gifted poet who can write prose but retain his poetry in that prose this is the book for you It is really three separate books the famous 'Cider with Rosie' covering the writer's idyllic yet poverty stricken upbringing in the Slad Valley in Gloucestershire; an account of his leaving home travelling to London and then Spain in the early nineteen thirties and finally an account of his largely futile idealistic efforts in the Spanish civil war that nearly cost him his life on several occasions mainly due to the incompetence of the Republican side he was fighting on as well as his inherent limitations as a soldierThese books capture variously an England a London and a Spain that are lost and gone He combines factual observations with poetic descriptions It is both a history and a poemHighly recommended Having read this and a biography I am still at a loss to understand how someone who had so rudimentary an education by his own account largely timetables dates of Kings and ueens and a few verses from the Bible came to write so well and have such an understanding of the world For he had undoubtedly had both of those attributes in generous uantity He undoubtedly inherited some artistic talent from his mother while keeping very interesting company for most of his life

  5. Sue Sue says:

    Where do i start about this book Cider with Rosie is one of those books thats been on my must read pile for a long time and i promised myself i would read this summer and now i have i wish i'd read it sooner or do I Maybe if i'd read this when i was a few years younger i wouldn't have appreciated the lyrical prose that Lee plays with in this text Bees float like cake crumbs the descriptions are so wonderful and conjure up time gone by that no longer exist in the british countryside The other two stories of his life are just as beautiful and descriptive and i felt that the journeys he made in Spain i was along for the journey with him This book of all three autobiographical stories of Lee are worth the time but to be savoured not rushed For any of you that want a serene read of different times i recommend this book

  6. 5greenway 5greenway says:

    45 ish Heartfelt stinging reminiscence of a life and of worlds passed away The passage from brutality of poverty to brutality of war in the second and third books is particularly stark

  7. Elizabeth Coley Elizabeth Coley says:

    I read Cider with Rosie years ago and loved this story the trilogy is a continuation of what happened in Laurie's life when he left home a sensitive story of one man's journey will read it again

  8. Andrew Andrew says:

    This is an auto biographical trilogyIt begins with 'Cider with Rosie' which charts the childhood and school years of Laurie Lee in the village of Slad in Gloucestershire It is an excellent piece of social historyI was prompted to re read this by a recent TV drama The writing is beautifully prosaic capturing both the sense of time and space in this part of rural EnglandThe second book 'As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning' tells the tale of a young Laurie journeying through Spain just before the Spanish Civil warThe sense of innocence of youth is a recurring element of this part of Laurie's life The first couple of chapters chart his walk to London Then he arrives in Spain 'and the new life beginning I had a few shillings in my pocket and no return ticket; I had a knapsack blanket spare shirt and a fiddle' and enough words to ask for a glass of water'I really like the self effacing way he writes about his adventures 'But I was innocent then of my ignorance and so untroubled by it'The writing a bit like in Cider with Rosie paints a literary picture of the life the people in the time before the conflict to come This book ends as Spain is moving in to civil war in the Epilogue when he is back in Gloucestershire he writes 'Unlike so many of my age for whom Spain in the Thirties represented one of the last theatres of political romanticism I hadn't consciously chosen it as a cause but had stumbled on it by accident simply by happening to be there'The final book of the trilogy is called 'A Moment of War' In this Laurie makes the decision to return to join the anti Fascists opposing Franco In his naivety he finds himself treated as a spy and facing death before finally being accepted for what he isHe successfully manages to explain a little of the tragedy of this war 'It was then that I began to sense for the first time something of the gaseous sualor of a country at war an infection so deep it seemed to rot the earth drain it of colour life and sound' 'Worse than a country at war this one was at war with itself an ultimate permanent wastage'

  9. Bryn Bryn says:

    Laurie Lee came from the Stroud valleys not so very far from where I grew up His Cotswold childhood happened back when cars were still a rareity when the world was a far less industrial place There's a nostalgia for the past here for lost innocence The writing is beautiful There are sorrows and hard times as well though its not jsut a rose tinted view of a rural youth'As I walked out' takes Lee across Spain walking and busking This section of his life really caught my imagination although I've never had the nerve to do anything like it it's fuelled my daydreaming for many years More evocative prose and a great adventureA Moment of War as Spain plunged into civil war Lee felt obliged to go back and participate what follows is dark insane and deeply disturbing a haunting recollection of a terrible conflictHaving all three books in one volume is a great asset They're wildly different in character and all very good reads Cider with Rosie might be the most famous but I feel the other two are far stronger books much adult and provocativeLaurie Lee was also a poet so if you enjoy these you might want to look out his other work

  10. Sam Josh Sam Josh says:

    Lyrical beauty if I had 10% of his writing talent I would be a very happy man

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