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The Accordionist's SonThe Accordionist's Son

Beyond Guernica
The Basque novelist Bernardo At­xaga has spent his career moving between fairy tales and terrorism. His early works were set in the mythical Spanish town of Obaba, where birds, squirrels and snakes could speak. Later he turned out gritty novels about men and women backed into corners by their entanglement with the Basque separatist movement. These two worlds converge in “The Accordionist’s Son,” a sprawling novel about the legacy of civil war in Spain that borrows characters from Atxaga’s previous works but does not have quite the same charm and power…

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“Guernica” tells the story of an extended family of Basques, a proud minority group with its own language and strong democratic traditions. The Basques have occupied the coastal areas and mountains of north-central Spain and southwestern France for centuries.

“Boling threads his way through the stories of his many characters with humor, compassion and rich details of Basque tradition.

… the novel is about loss, but also about loss’s counterpoints, love and endurance. The description of the bombing of Guernica is so moving, detailed and sad that it becomes almost unbearable. By this point in the story, we’re so familiar with the families of the town that we are pulled to the depths of their tragedy and pain. Boling is remarkably able to depict this

… ultimately, this is a universal story. Through art and the historical record, Guernica is emblazoned in memory, enduring as an expression of individual and collective outrage.”


Paris in the twenties: Pernod, parties and expatriate Americans, loose-living on money from home. Jake is wildly in love with Brett Ashley, aristocratic and irresistibly beautiful, but with an abandoned, sensuous nature that she cannot change. When the couple drifts to Spain to the dazzle of the fiesta and the heady atmosphere of the bullfight, their affair is strained by new passions, new jealousies, and Jake must finally learn that he will never possess the woman he loves.

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