Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls of Spain

Bill Hillman. Curbside Splendor, $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-940430-53-9
In this gritty, tough-talking memoir, former Chicago boxing champion and novelist Hillman (The Old Neighborhood) chronicles his years participating in the Spanish tradition of encierro (bull-running). Inspired by Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, 23-year-old Hillman, after attending novelist Irvine Welsh’s wedding in Dublin, decides to travel to Pamplona, Spain, to take part in the festival of the running of the bulls. Hillman is immediately smitten, enraptured by the skilled and legendary runners. He comes to view the tradition as “an elaborate art, a fiercely loyal brotherhood, a place where grace and heroics [meld] seamlessly.” In a terse, highly conversational tone, Hillman recounts the ensuing years pursuing his newfound hobby, his personal struggles with anger and violence, his growth as a mozo (bull-runner), his entrance into and understanding of that “fiercely loyal brotherhood,” and his own progress as a writer. While Hillman writes of his respect for the tradition, the book is remarkably light on the social and cultural history of bull-running. The book is a memoir in the strictest sense—tightly focused around Hillman’s recent experiences related to bull-running and writing. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 06/01/2015
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