"A Thousand and One Stories of Pericón de Cádiz," in the words of José Luis Ortiz Nuevo, translated and annotated by John Moore -- has more than a thousand and one delights to offer a English speaking audience. Sometimes when you read translations little nuances get lost, but this was not the case with this book. After reading it, I took the trouble to view an out-of-print copy of the original in Spanish, borrowed from a local flamenco dancer who is originally from Spain. I simply wanted to know if the translation held true to what little I knew about the Pericón de Cádiz, the revered artist of the flamenco and how it meshed with other oral histories.
Anyone who has read a lot of oral histories will know that the experience of reading a book like "A Thousand and One Stories of Pericón de Cádiz," is a lot like interviewing your elders about their lives - in that while the topics may bounce around and not follow in a chronological order, but the living breathing history spoke from the heart and mind of those who lived the stories is priceless gift to those who take the time to really listen. And while this was true of the book, it was such a treasure to see the life of artists in Spain from behind the scenes. Inside this book are rare opportunities to know more about the world of flamenco artists and the importance that this artistic medium plays in the heart of the Spanish mind and spirit. Beyond that, is the fascinating peek into the world of the great Pericón de Cádiz himself.
Lastly, I highly recommend this book for anyone traveling to Spain. I wish it had been available before a month long vacation I once took to Madrid and surrounding cities. It would have made my trip so much more meaningful, if I had understood the cultural references and points of view of those who lived in the time of Pericón de Cádiz. Think of "A Thousand and One Stories of Pericón de Cádiz," as a primer for getting the most out of your visit.