Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A - Z Challenge: HOMES


Our living room/dining room.
One of the biggest differences between the U.S. and Spain is the concept of the home.  In the States, it seems that most of the middle to upper class lives in a house located in the suburbs of some large city or another.

Not so in Spain.

Here the vast majority of people live in a piso, a small apartment with a tiny kitchen, living room/dining room, bathroom, and maybe three bedrooms, each smaller than the average college dorm room.  Not spacious at all, but it's all that's needed.  The home is a family space, meant primarily for sleeping and eating, so friends don't often come over to hang out.  No slumber parties, no movie marathons.  The majority of social activities occur en la calle, or "on the street."

Our kitchen.  Since food is bought for the day, and that's it,
there's no need for a pantry.
That's why cities and towns are filled with plazas, which serve as outdoor living rooms.  That's where friends can meet up and hang out, and why public drinking isn't quite as frowned upon as it is in the States.  (I believe it's still illegal, but the Guardia Civil pretends it isn't.)


Have you ever read a book in which the building(s) were extremely memorable?  Hopefully, since the Hogwarts castle is amazing with its moving staircases and talking portraits. Another one that comes to mind is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, in which the castle is a constant presence.  The narrator, Cassandra, is always telling the readers about the gatehouse, and the moat, and the towers, and the dungeon.

I always like when I feel a special attachment to a place I've never actually been.  Like Hogwarts.  The last book pained me for many reasons, but it was torturous to read how my beloved Hogwarts, which felt like home to me, was crumbling under an onslaught of Death Eaters.  And how about Tara, from Gone with the Wind?

Setting is big for me, which is why I like to emphasize specific places, especially in short stories.  Places of historical importance.  Places from my childhood.  Places I'd love to visit.

What about you?  What are you favorite fictional places?

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