SOMETIMES, says David Baird, he dreams about garbanzos.
“Yes, chick-peas, those little bullet-like beans which have to be soaked for days and boiled for hours so that finally you can add some flavouring and create a fine stew — fine that is if you like bullet-like beans.”
He claims that’s what he lived on most of the time when he and his wife first settled in a Spanish village. He describes his efforts to live “the simple life” in Sunny Side Up — The 21st century hits a Spanish village.
Hilarious, nostalgic and moving, his book inspired the Sunday Times of London to comment: “Recommended reading for anybody who ever wondered what happened to the ‘real Spain’.”
Anther angle on that ‘real Spain’ is contained in Between Two Fires, Baird’s book about the guerrilla war that raged in the 1940s.
Historian Paul Preston noted: “David Baird has painstakingly recreated the tragic yet heroic story…As exciting as any thriller, yet deeply moving, it deserves to be read by everyone concerned with the history of contemporary Spain.”
Journalist and hispanophile Philip Grenard found the book “Absolutely riveting. A wonderfully evocative footnote to history presumably experienced in many parts of Spain.”
And British author Perrott Phillips commented: “Profoundly researched, deeply sympathetic to the subject and compellingly written.”
Baird’s books of fiction have also won praise. Don’t Miss The Fiesta! managed to curdle the blood with its account of dramatic events in a remote village trying to come to terms with its guilty, blood-stained past.
His latest, Typhoon Season, is set in the Far East. “A tightly constructed thriller that moves along at a cracking pace and a very good example of genre fiction,” says Hong Kong’s Sunday Morning Post.
Vaudine England, writing in The Correspondent, magazine of the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club, declared: “Baird’s fluent prose and pithy plot-making make a few points clearly, quickly and dramatically, with quite a bit of fun along the way…The cameos of Hong Kong people and situations show a genuine feel for the place. There is also sex and drugs and gruesome death and a plot twist that not everyone would have been able to predict.”
Former correspondent of The Times, Edward Owen, comments: “David Baird’s Typhoon Season brilliantly evokes life in Hong Kong in the lead-up to the 1997 Handover to China. Ruthless rivals try and stake out as much territory as they can in this thrilling novel, daringly based more on fact than fiction. This is a fast-moving, highly entertaining story, that should be read by anyone interested in Hong Kong and how China and the West spar with each other.”