Kinky Gazpacho (Paperback)

Life, Love & Spain

By Lori L. Tharps

Washington Square Press, 9780743296489, 240pp.

Publication Date: May 26, 2009

List Price: 15.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Magazine writer and editor Lori Tharps was born and raised in the comfortable but mostly White suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she was often the only person of color in her school and neighborhood. At an early age, Lori decided that her destiny would be discovered in Spain. She didn't know anyone from Spain, had never visited the country, and hardly spoke the language. Still, she never faltered in her plans to escape to the Iberian Peninsula.

Arriving in the country as an optimistic college student, however, Lori soon discovers Spain's particular attitude toward Blackness. She is chased down the street by the local schoolchildren and pointed at incessantly in public, and her innocent dreams of a place where race doesn't matter are shattered. The story would end there, except Lori meets and marries a Spaniard, and that's when her true Spanish adventure really begins.

Against the ancient backdrops of Cádiz and Andalucía, Lori starts the intricate yet amusing journey of rekindling her love affair with Spain and becoming a part of her new Spanish family. From a grandmother who spies on her to a grandfather who warmly welcomes her to town with a slew of racist jokes, the close-knit clan isn't exactly waiting with open arms. Kinky Gazpacho tells the story of the redeeming power of love and finding self in the most unexpected places.

At its heart, this is a love story. It is a memoir, a travel essay, and a glimpse into the past and present of Spain. As humorous and entertaining as such favorite travel stories as Under the Tuscan Sun, this book also unveils a unique and untold history of Spain's enduring connection to West Africa. Kinky Gazpacho celebrates the mysticism of travel and the joys of watching two distinct cultures connect and come together.

About the Author

Lori L. Tharps is the author of Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain, named by as one of their top ten books for 2008, and the co-author of Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America. She is an assistant professor of journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, where she makes her home with her husband and family. She doesn’t have a nanny.

Praise For Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain

"With flawless agility, Tharps...juggles a coming-of-age story, a portrait of the writer as a young woman, a travel book and a detective story along with a memoir about learning to love oneself and one's world." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Joining the ranks of such fine books as Frances Mayes's Under the Tuscan Sun and Sarah Turnbull's Almost French, Lori Tharps takes us on an adventure of love, language, and travel. In her capable hands, it's not a small world after all -- but rather a big one, with much to discover and a great deal of fun to be had." -- Veronica Chambers, author of The Joy of Doing Things Badly and Kickboxing Geishas

"Kinky Gazpacho is not just a journey but a 'trip,' as they say. We encounter Frederick Douglass's hot descendant, Michael Jackson fans in Morocco, racist candies, and the love of a lifetime in a memoir that's sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious, and always quirky." -- Asali Solomon, author of Get Down