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Guernica, by Dave Boling

LoisAnn
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Guernica, by Dave Boling

Post by LoisAnn » Mon February 16th, 2009, 1:56 am

It is with a great sense of satisfaction and pleasure that I put fingers to keyboard to talk about Guernica, by Dave Boling. As much as the words may be overused, "rich and rewarding" describe this book perfectly.

It is a book to be savored and shared - but only with other people who have already read it! A large part of the beauty of this book is the way the story unfolds; and it would be cheating a prospective reader to know too much about the story, characters, plot development, etc. in advance.

So, I will content myself with what the book jacket tells us ... The bombing of Guernica (Basque country) on the eve of World War II was a devasting experiment in total warfare by the German Luftwaffe. For the Basques, it was an attack on the soul of their nation; for the world, it was an unprecedented crime against humanity. ...

There are a few more details in the book jacket write-up; but suffice to say that this is a book set in the Basque country of Spain and, except for providing the history of our main characters, is set during the years of 1933 - 1940. It is a love story, but don't think for a minute this is a romance.

It is a love story about the love shared by a husband and wife; the love of parents for their children; the love of people for their culture, for their town and for each other; and for their country. It is a story of unimaginable tragedy and of the strength of will to recover and, find a reason for, and enjoyment in, life once again.

Boling writes with a light and sensitive voice and never rushes us to a conclusion or plot development. Some of his sentences and paragraphs must be read aloud - even if you are the only one in the room to hear them. There are laugh out loud lines and there are clever details that delight the reader while they enhance a character's personality or a storyline.

Dialog is real as are the characters - they are people who could be sitting across the dinner table from you or someone you chat with at the post office. Character development, descriptive writing, scene development, etc. - all deftly & skillfully handled.

One of the other wonderful aspects of this book is that Boling tells the story as it is happening. A chapter may have a section about a set of characters, a story line, a chance meeting between two people who seemingly have nothing to do with what is going on. This is not a new writing technique, I know, but somehow, Boling puts a fresh spin on it when you can look back on how all the threads finally come together.

Boling unfolds this story like a tightly closed bloom that opens oh so gently into a beautiful flower. When I finished the book this morning, I told my husband (who also read & loved it), "I am so glad I read this book!" (Many thanks to Lindymc who found this title for us!)

I have checked Dave Boling's website and cannot find any indication that 1) he is working on another book (which he should be doing!) or 2) that the screenplay rights to this book have been bought (which is a tragedy & I hope not a permanent situation - this would make a wonderful movie).

A story of love and life set in 1930's Basque country - with my highest recommendation! Enjoy!

P.S. - PLEASE as you do further research into whether or not this is a book for you, avoid any review or synopsis that tells too much. The story needs to be told to you by the author - and not by anyone else.
Last edited by LoisAnn on Mon February 16th, 2009, 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. ~ Charles de Secondat

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Mon February 16th, 2009, 2:21 am

Thanks LoisAnn, I'll have to look into this. And THANK YOU for mentioning to stay away from the reviews. I've had a few of them burn me in the past.

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Post by Ash » Mon February 16th, 2009, 2:35 am

Its not a place that I know much about; but your review has made me very interested. Thanks!

LoisAnn
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Post by LoisAnn » Mon February 16th, 2009, 4:26 am

[quote=""Misfit""]Thanks LoisAnn, I'll have to look into this. And THANK YOU for mentioning to stay away from the reviews. I've had a few of them burn me in the past.[/quote]

Same thing has happened to me too many times! I try to be sensitive about giving too much away when talking about a book - why should I be the only one delighted or surprised or anguished by a twist or development in a book? AND, that doesn't even address the fact that someone else's careless statement may be based more on opinion or interpretation than fact and, yet, will still influence my own reaction.

With this book, in particular, there are just several very neat aspects that need to be discovered on an individual basis by each reader. I can't wait for Lindymc to start it so I can ask her on a daily basis, "Well, where are you? What has happened? Wasn't that neat/fun/clever/sad/etc. when this, that & the other thing happened?" :)

[quote=""Ash""]Its not a place that I know much about; but your review has made me very interested. Thanks![/quote]

Like you, Ash, I was a complete blank slate when I opened up this book. I knew nothing about the Basque region or Guernica or Picasso's painting by the same name. And, one of the things that struck me is that the book has a timeless quality - as I said in my review, it is a story of life and love in the face of adversity and tragedy - and as lovers of historical fiction, we've all read this story many times before - different era, different location, different flavor of tragedy, different accent for the characters - but a story of the human will to survive, nonetheless.
I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. ~ Charles de Secondat

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JMJacobsen
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Post by JMJacobsen » Mon February 16th, 2009, 5:36 am

I loved this book...just finished it a couple weeks ago and haven't gotten my review up yet, but I agree wholeheartedly with what you had to say here.

For what it's worth, by pure happenstance a copy of Winter in Madrid, by CJ Sansom fell into my lap last week. It covers roughly the same time period and setting, but is a outstanding novel that goes more in depth into the politics of Civil War Spain. It is the PERFECT accompaniment novel for Guernica and I highly recommend reading both of them back to back to gain tremendous insight into this time period.

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Post by boswellbaxter » Mon February 16th, 2009, 5:40 am

[quote=""JMJacobsen""]

For what it's worth, by pure happenstance a copy of Winter in Madrid, by CJ Sansom fell into my lap last week. It covers roughly the same time period and setting, but is a outstanding novel that goes more in depth into the politics of Civil War Spain. It is the PERFECT accompaniment novel for Guernica and I highly recommend reading both of them back to back to gain tremendous insight into this time period.[/quote]

C.W. Gortner has a guest post up by Sansom on his blog:

http://historicalboys.blogspot.com/2009 ... or-of.html
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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon February 16th, 2009, 10:24 am

Thanks for the review Lois Ann. Another one for the TBR.
Hasn't there been a book or film with this title before - or a painting? I know the word but not from whence it has popped into my head!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

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Post by diamondlil » Mon February 16th, 2009, 10:33 am

I think there is a Picasso painting with that name.
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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon February 16th, 2009, 10:38 am

[quote=""diamondlil""]I think there is a Picasso painting with that name.[/quote]

Ah that would be it. Thanks Diamondlil! :D
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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JMJacobsen
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Post by JMJacobsen » Mon February 16th, 2009, 5:21 pm

Picasso actually has a bit part in the novel.

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