Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Guernica by Dave Boling




  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Genre: Literary Fiction
  • Publisher: Picador 2009
  • Source: My sister-in-law.
  • First Sentence : Prologue (Guernica 1939)Justo Ansotegui returns to the market now to hear the language and to buy soap.
  • Review Quote : '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
  • My Opinion: One of my favourite reads this year.


    Until I read this novel my only knowledge of ‘Guernica’ was as a place in the Basque region of Spain that had come under attack during the Spanish Civil War. I had also heard of Picasso’s painting of the same name, but had never looked at it closely. Although I have now done so online, it would be a moving experience to see it in reality, especially now I know more about the events behind the creation.  I understand when reading historical fiction that fact and fiction are sometimes difficult to separate. So I enjoy the fact that reading a novel like this one, besides being a pleasure to read has also taught me something along the way.

    The novel concentrates on the story of two Basque families related by marriage the Ansotegui’s and the Navarro’s. An extraordinary fictional tale of their  family life from 1893 – 1940 with appearances by some real people from history. The story is woven around the characters Miguel Navarro and Miren Ansotegui, when the two of them meet they believe they have a love that nothing can destroy.

    While reading this I felt thoroughly immersed in the surroundings and so connected with the characters that I felt their grief and happiness as if I knew them personally. This is truly a wonderful love story not just between individuals but a love of family, traditions and place, definitely one of my favourite reads this year.


    Image of Dave BolingAuthor photo

    Dave Boling was born in Chicago, USA and has been a journalist in the Pacific Northwest since 1980. Prior to that, he worked as a logger, iron-worker, boat-builder, bartender, bouncer, short-order cook, painter and college football coach. He lives on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Guernica, his first novel, was voted Richard and Judy's best 'Summer Read' for 2009.

    The interview with Dave Boling is less than six minutes but split into three parts, in the first part he discusses the novel, no spoilers. I have also included the links to the next two parts in which he discusses why he became an author and the reasons behind why he wrote Guernica.

    Uploaded by picadorbooks on Jul 15, 2009

    Dave Boling Interview Part 2

    Dave Boling Interview Part Three

    Information for this post is with thanks to the following websites.  
  • Amazon - Author Profile   

  • Guernica - The Painting – Wikipedia

  • Author's Official Website

  • YouTube


    1. Sounds like a good book Linda. I know nothing about the history of Spain.

    2. This sounds fascinating, Linda! I've recently read a book set in the Basque region and absolutely loved it. I will have to track this one down post haste. :-)

    3. I remember reading this one. I am interested in books on this period in history. Nice review.

    4. Cathy@ I had two copies of this, took one to HK for Selina but I think you might be interested in the spare copy?

      Rambling Tart@ This is certainly worth tracking down a copy if you can.

      Lindsey@ Thanks what did you think of it?

    5. Oh yes Linda, I would be very interested in the spare copy.

    6. Hi Linda. Welcome back! This is certainly a good view, and I can see from reading your words just how much you enjoyed this book. If it's one of your best reads this year, then it must be good! It goes on to my 'to read' list then. I love it when you can get really into the characters like that.

    7. That should have read "This is certainly a good REVIEW...."!

    8. I love the sound of this book and must add it to my tbr pile. Thanks.

    9. I'm going to have to keep my eyes open for this one!

    10. ThisisMe@ It is, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

      Debs@ Definitely another one for Mt TBR. :)

      Cathy@ I have put my spare copy to one side for you.

    11. Welcome back Lindy. Your reviews were missed here :)

    12. Vibha@ Thankyou for your kind comment.

    13. I have just read this book. I thought the central bombing was going to be too awful to read, but it's done sensitively and well. The whole book leaves the reader feeling optimistic, even though they realise there are another 30 years of Franco's regime to go.

    14. aliqot@ Welcome and thankyou for taking the time to comment. Guernica is certainly written well and leaves us with lots to think about. Hope to see you here again sometime.


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