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The Wrong Blood

3.03  ·  Rating Details ·  145 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
In the Basque Country in northern Spain, just before the Civil War, three men in dinner suits stop for a drink at a bar before continuing on their way to a wedding. Their trip is interrupted when their leader, the wealthy Don Leopoldo, has a stroke in the restroom.This event, bizarre and undignified though it is, begins to weave together the lives of two remarkable women: ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by Other Press (first published 2000)
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The Wrong Blood is one of those novels I really wanted to love but left me feeling flat. Several days after finishing the story, I am not quite certain what Mr. de Lope was trying to accomplish. Was he trying to tell a story about the impact of the Civil War or was it more a study of humankind and their reactions to adverse conditions? I suspect the answer is both things, but the fact that I am not 100 percent certain about it leads me to conclude that he was not successful with whatever he was ...more
Nancy Oakes
The Wrong Blood is the story of two women of different classes in Spain's Basque country: Maria Antonia Etxarri, the young daughter of a local innkeeper and Isabel Cruces Hernandez, who comes from a family of wealth and influence. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), their individual tragedies unexpectedly bring and then bind them together for the rest of their lives. Isabel falls in love with and marries an army captain, who is killed shortly afterwards, leaving behind not only Isabel but ...more
Sep 12, 2012 Kara rated it it was ok
This is really a 1.5 rating, but I can't in good conscience give it the same number of stars that I have 50 Shades of Grey, so, whatevs.

There's no doubt that this is a beautifully written book. Full of poignant observations about life and such. Definitely flowery and could have/should have been toned down. A lot.

But there's an obvious problem with this book - there's no conflict. Nothing actually happens. The book tells the story of two women whose lives were drastically and irrevocably impacted
Lydia Presley
Oct 07, 2010 Lydia Presley rated it really liked it
When I started to read this book I was worried that I'd tackled it too soon after reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. The Wrong Blood was also a "steak" of a book and Manuel de Lope created a beautifully written story that translated incredibly well.

The story centers are three main people, Maria Antonia Etxarri, the daughter of a former innkeeper from a nearby town; Dr. Felix Castro, a young, crippled doctor; and Isabel Cruces Herraiz, the bride (and later widow) of a young officer, all li
Gretchen Rings
Sep 01, 2010 Gretchen Rings rated it really liked it
The Wrong Blood opens in a small Basque village at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, alternating between 1930s Spain to present. This is the first book of de Lope's to be translated into English, and I am eager to read more. Literary and exquisite.
Nov 13, 2010 Katie rated it it was amazing
It was my great pleasure to work on this stunning book. The key is to surrender to the prose, wade into the descriptions, and let the story unfold in its slow, magnificent way.
May 05, 2011 Stephen rated it liked it
Manuel de Lope's "The Wrong Blood," is tough to review without giving up the ghost, literally.

It is the story of three people bound by a series of shared spawned by the Fascists deathly advance through the Basque Country during the Spanish Civil War.

Situated for a few passages at the front, the novel mostly broods in the enclosed worlds of two houses on the coast: "Los Sauces" and "Las Cruces."

In one of them live two victims of the conflict, in the other a lame doctor, whose affliction allows
Sue Cauhape
May 11, 2011 Sue Cauhape rated it liked it
The Wrong Blood is a complicated story with a very simple plot. Taking place in the present in a seaside village of the Basque Country, The Wrong Blood, tells of a young lawyer who spends a few months in his family's villa to study for his Notary exams. The doctor who lives next door pesters him to go out for lunch for reasons which are never revealed to the young man. The old woman servant, who inherited the villa from the lawyer's grandmother, bustles around him, keeping mainly to herself, but ...more
Jul 18, 2012 Averil rated it really liked it
"But the Lord does not grant the exhausted veins of life with the privilege of a second youth"

The Wrong Blood rates up there with the finest Spanish literature I have read. I discovered this quiet, heartrending gem on a '3 for $5!' table at a discount book store, and bought it on Isabel Allende's recommendation... "An unforgettable novel...pure poetry!"

She was right, of course.

Manuel de Lope works with hypnotic power - and surrendering to his evocative, meandering prose is a joy and privilege!
Andres Lopez
Feb 28, 2011 Andres Lopez rated it really liked it
The Wrong Blood is a fiction/Spanish novel. I chose this book because the cover was very interesting and also the pages were uneven so I thought that was cool so I bought it. The book is about two women who are pregnant and from different classes. Isabel Cruces Hernandez who is a rich person and Maria Antonia Etxarri who is a teenager who got raped. Both of them are pregnant and lonely. Felix Castro is a doctor that has a lot to do in the story and the two women. It is a man vs. society because ...more
Nov 01, 2011 Michael rated it liked it
Beautifully written poetic prose, summed up with a quote from the book: "The spectacle repeated itself monotonously..."

Slow going with overlong descriptions giving you many, many more words than plot. Many times I found myself skimming through a paragraph.

"Out beyond the breaking waves, the sea rippled with white patches like fleeces of wool, the sheep-scattered sea, tended by the winds, carrying in its bosom the uncontainable force of the tempest that could break out in a few hours, or on the
Feb 10, 2011 Kristi rated it it was ok
For me this was a difficult read. The writing style is not like anything I am use to reading, though that could be in part to the way it translated from Spanish. The story line itself was predicable, but the author inserted so many tangents and spent a lot of time discussing and comparing things that I felt weren't necessarily relevant to the story.
A lot of time is spent discussing the past events which have shaped the future of the characters, but I still could fully decipher what the real prob
Jan 27, 2011 Natasha rated it did not like it
I have to be honest: I really struggled to get through this book. I've found that books translated from Spanish are, for the most part, a slow read for me. I can't be sure if it's just a translation issue, or if it is more a natural, cultural divide that I just don't understand. That said, the author is obviously a talented writer. He uses a lot of great metaphors and has a firm grasp on language. But his heavy, flowery prose is what ultimately killed my enthusiasm for reading this book. It real ...more
Oct 26, 2011 Jeffrey rated it really liked it
From the first line of this book..I was captivated.

Two women from either side of the social track in the Spanish Civil War and the repercussions.

There are so few books on this period in the English language...oh, please not more Gernam Nazi books...we seldom get much on the horrors of Franco so learning about what it was like adds lustre.

I found the story easy to read ...the twists are obvious...but you get a feel for the country and the desperate situation of people living there at the time.

A r
Jul 24, 2011 Alison rated it liked it
This belongs to the Spanish Civil War "recovery of memory" novelistic genre. The atmosphere of rural northwestern Spain was very evocative. Definitely a slow read with a predictable plot. As a political allegory, interesting. The young notary who returns to his grandmother's house to study for his law exams has little interest in the family mystery that an crippled neighbor half-heartedly tries to reveal to him. I couldn't get it in Spanish, so I had to read it in English, but it seems like an e ...more
Wendy G
Jan 31, 2011 Wendy G rated it it was ok
Well, "The Wrong Blood" was beautifully written and I think it would appeal to someone really interested in Civil War-era Spanish history and culture. There's a lot of culture in this book. As I said, it is also beautifully written. The problem I had with this novel is that the main characters are backdrops to the changing landscape and political drama. I finished the book wanting to better understand why the central drama happens, and who these two women are. I wasn't very satisfied with "The W ...more
Ann Fisher
Apr 12, 2011 Ann Fisher rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books I would have never read if it hadn't been a book group selection. Set in the Spanish Civil War, this quiet story of two women survivors is wonderfully moving. De Lope writes in a detached voice, picking up all the details of a scene, for a surprisingly powerful effect. This is the first of the author's books to be translated into English. I'll certainly look for the next one.
Apr 03, 2011 Eleanor rated it really liked it
I struggled to read this book but I'm very glad I did. I did figure out
the "mystery" of the book - the title is a give-away - and the writing
can be "a slow, but beautiful go" as you get to the action ... the
sadness of the book and description of grief is moving - the characters
don't grab you, but do grow on you. It's well worth the time invested
in reading the book - read it both for the prose and in the end ... the
Sara Testarossa
Dec 04, 2013 Sara Testarossa rated it liked it
Part of me wonders if I would have enjoyed this book more if I read it in the original Spanish. The writing style may have been more enjoyable, but the plot, not so much. I think this is because so little actually happens in the book. The majority of the interesting events are retold from the past, and I didn't feel any sense of resolution at the end of the book. I did enjoy the meandering journey, somewhat, though, and it was worth reading.
Ellen E
May 10, 2016 Ellen E rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book, it was simple and poetic with a satisfying end. I have a feeling it is better in its original spanish, something about the flow and sentence structures seems kind of unnatural or forced at times, but after I got used to the style I really enjoyed it. It definitely has the feel of other literature from modern Spain, not happy or tragic but just real and focused in without judgement on characters making decisions.
Apr 06, 2011 bobbi rated it liked it
whew! this was not a fast read. if you like stories that have a lot of dialogue and lots of plot twists and turns - this book is not for you. there is exactly one plot twist and you'll know what it is from the beginning with very little intuition. there are a lot of beautiful descriptive passages and wonderful characters. this style of writing is not for everyone but if you are a reader who likes to contemplate as they read, you may like this fine.
Mar 28, 2012 Jean rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book very much and found the descriptions vivid and memorable. Since I have travelled to some of the places mentioned in the novel, this added to my reading pleasure and in addition, I knew little about the Spanish Civil War which is the background for the novel. I just wish that I were able to read this book in the original Spanish.
Leisurely – verging on lethargy – but never quite tipping the scale between sluggishness and unhurried appreciation for the roses (of which, the author is careful to note, there is an astounding variety in Basque).

Full review on The Stanford Daily website
Aug 26, 2010 Tuck rated it really liked it
Shelves: basque
exquisite i think is the word. about a small out of the way place during the spanish civil war in 1936, Hondarribia basque country. and two women who make a deal. A woman's side of war. women should all be our war councils, there would be less war.
Feb 06, 2011 Kaylin rated it it was ok
It was good...the book moved a little slow at first so it took a while for me to get both interested and involved in the characters. However, once the story started moving a little quicker, I began to enjoy it more.
Feb 16, 2011 Larry rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, evocatively woven tale written in sumptuous language cast against the exotic history/geography of the windswept Basque coast during and after the Spanish Civil War. Pitch perfect with an ending that still haunts.
Mar 04, 2011 Brittany rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It's a Spanish author and deals with the lives of two women during the Spanish Civil War. It's very verbose and sometimes I needed to reread lines and paragraphs. Maybe I'm just slow!
PK Reeves
Oct 26, 2010 PK Reeves rated it liked it
John Cullen's translation of Manuel de Lope impressive yet I wanted more on the lives of the characters. Rating 3.5 stars Read Review on Aisle B link
The prose is beautiful here. It all takes place in the Pyrannese mountains between the border city of Spain and the border city of France along the river. A beautifully written book and quite deep into the feelings of the characters.
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