In his late thirties, John Julius Reel left his native New York for Seville, hoping to re-invent himself, find his voice as a writer, and cast off the shadow of his famous father. When his girlfriend dumped him after a month-long visit, the last tie was cut, and he had to face his future from his stark, mosquito-infested rented room. Alone in a foreign land, struggling with the language, and longing to find his place and purpose in the world, he began to rebuild his life.
My Half Orange: A Story of Love and Language in Seville (Chicago: Tortoise Books, 2023) is a tender, comical, and illuminating story about what it means to learn to speak and think in a new way, and to spend so much time away from home that the foreign becomes familiar. This heartwarming chronicle filled with Sevillian delicias (soccer, Iberian ham, creative cursing, and one extraordinary woman) reveals how love, language, and culture can transform one’s life forever.