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.
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.