First Person

Absent the Miracle

“Not another bloody photo of a church!” It was early evening in Valencia. My sister-in-law was wheezing through the end of a cigarette, my phone in her other hand. She frowned, exhaling with tedium and a touch of irritation at the eccentricity of it: only a foreigner could be bothered with all that history and religion. “You’d think there was nothing else to see in Spain,” she passed sentence, and gave up on scrolling through the pictures. My daughter Eva and I had just returned from four days of mid-winter travelling through fog-bound and half-remembered villages in the central and…

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