Monday, July 13, 2009

Mini-Review: "Guernica" - a novel by Dave Boling

When I learned that Dave Boling had written a novel about the famed Spanish town of Guernica, I was eager to read the story. I have a close friend – an adopted daughter of sorts – whose heritage is partly Basque. I was eager to learn something about her roots. I was intrigued to learn in the first few pages of this gripping novel, that Guernica has long been the capital and spiritual center of the Basque region than spans the border between Spain and France in the Pyrenees.

In much the same way that Picasso captured the world’s attention and outrage as he depicted, in his inimitable style, the ravages that the German bombing in 1937 inflicted about the city of Guernica, Boling limns a portrait of the suffering of the inhabitants of the town. By focusing on the everyday lives of the members of several Basque families - fishermen, carpenters, members of the resistance against Franco, a priest, a blind soap maker - Boling paints a vivid picture of the vibrancy that was Guernica before the bombing. Three quarters of a century after the bombs fell on the heart and soul of the Basque region, the novel helps us to remember what was lost and what is still worth preserving.



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