The Acorn Eaters

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Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1997 - Andalusia (Spain) - 211 pages
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The Spanish Civil War is over, but the peasants of Andalusia, in the south of Spain, still live in dire poverty. Curro leaves school at eight years old to become a swineherd at the rich monastery on the hill, so he can help his family get enough to eat. There he can scrounge for acorn-like bellotas to stave off his hunger -- but only at the risk of his life, for everything, even the bellotas that are fed to the pigs, is the property of the landowners. He finds other ways to earn a few pennies -- sometimes by hard labor, sometimes by ingenuity, sometimes by sheer trickery. Based on the childhood recollections of the author's late husband, Salvador Gonzalez Barragan, the story of Curro's journey into manhood is a fascinating picture of a way of life not known to many American readers.

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