o. Pantheon. Mar. 2019. 592p. tr. from Spanish by Alfred MacAdam. ISBN 9781524747121. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524747138. F
OrangeReviewStarA Basque-born novelist now living in Germany, Aramburu unfolds the consequences of the Basque insurgency while asking us to ponder larger issues of violence, friendship, and moral choice. When Bittori returns to the hometown where her husband was killed, people avoid her, fearing that she means to stir up trouble. Generous Txato was accused in graffiti of snitching on the ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, the Basque Homeland and Liberty), and the killers included the son of Bittori's sister-close friend, Miren. The narrative travels through decades, shifting between the families' past and present relationship, Bittori's suffering, defensive Miren's decision to support her radical son, and the tragedy of Miren's daughter, felled by a stroke in her forties and a bridge between the families.
VERDICT Punch-in-the-face powerful with a bittersweet ending; this leading Spanish novelist's first English-language outing is a masterpiece. [See Prepub Alert, 9/24/18.]
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