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Dave Boling

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Picador

Published : 2009

Copyright : Dave Boling 2009

ISBN-10 : PB 0-330-46066-8
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-330-46066-8

Publisher's Write-Up

An extraordinary epic of love, family, and war set in the Basque town of Guernica before, during, and after its destruction by the German Luftwaffe during the Spanish Civil War.

In 1935, Miguel Navarro finds himself in conflict with the Spanish Civil Guard and flees the Basque fishing village of Lekeitio to make a new start in Guernica, the centre of Basque culture and tradition. Once there, he finds more than just a new life - he finds someone to live for. Miren Ansotegui is the charismatic and graceful dancer he meets and the two discover a love they believe nothing can destroy...

Rich in the history of the region, the Red Baron, the Luftwaffe and even Picasso make appearances in Guernica as the fate of the Navarro family is traced through the early decades of the twentieth century.

'Love, loss, action, romance, drama and tradition in the face of won't be able to put it down.'

Woman's Own

'Where Picasso's painting so vividly captured the hellfire of the town's destruction, this book fills in the humanity. The characters, the culture and the landscape are all lovingly described.'

New Statesman

'Heart-rending yet life-affirming story.'

Daily Mail
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Alec Herron (301110) Rating (9/10)

Review by Alec Herron
Rating 9/10
Modern warfare was brutally born on April 26th 1937. Given a prime opportunity to test his newfound military muscle, Hitler sent the colossal Luftwaffe fleet to bomb, without discretion, the historic Basque town of Guernica. Dave Boling’s heart-wrenching debut follows the lives of the Ansotegui family, along with their closest friends and associates, during the time leading up to and beyond that fateful market day afternoon.

Though historically enlightening, Guernica offers more than just a lexical narrative to the iconic Picasso drawing of the same title. Love, loss, hope and friendship all carve a strong path throughout the story. Three young Basque boys are never to know how their lives will change the day their father leaves them to fend for themselves and take care of the family ‘baserri’ farm. Decades later, Justo the town strongman, is still there with his beautiful wife, graceful daughter and newly born granddaughter. Xabier the smartest of the three, is now a priest in Bilbao and Josepe, the wildest, has fled to the south of France following an altercation with the brutal, Franco-led Guardia Civil.

The smoke in the air had been building long before the first planes appeared over the green mountainous landscape towards the Basque country’s cultural and political heartbeat. Yet when the devastating explosions began, nobody could have expected to ever bare witness to scenes of such horror. Guernica paints a beautiful picture of the Basque people and their proud traditions. Exhibits their distinctive and previously outlawed language and confirms the emotional bonds that tie us all together. The hallowing tragedy that unfolds plays a stark contrast to the loving events of the Ansotegui family’s previous life together, and what follows the complete devastation of the small town, touchingly re-affirms the power of human resilience in the face of human evil.
Alec Herron (30th November 2010)

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