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3.48  ·  Rating details ·  64 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
“I read Unai Elorriaga’s latest novel almost without stopping to breathe. Breathlessly, yes, but not quickly, because Elorriaga’s books are not the kind you read in two or three hours and put back on the shelf. It is a very good novel. Incredibly good.”—Gorka Bereziartua

Plants Don't Drink Coffee achieves a graceful balance between playfulness (in both language and characte
Published 2007 by La Magrana (first published January 2006)
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May 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
archipelago's existence means good news for book-as-object fetishists and bad news for kindle/nook/robo-reader or whatever i-pad machine is happening right now, no matter how fun and swooshily elegant they make the hand gestures look.

archipelago just makes gorgeous books. they make books you want a windowseat for; to curl up in with an oversized mug of tea and a blankie and a single cookie on a gold-rimmed plate, more for show than sustenance. thick, textured paper, sophisticated european-style
Nov 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plants Don't Drink Coffee is a fun, colorful read, with many quirky characters telling their stories that take place before and around one summer. This particular summer is important, only because the boy, Tomas, is living with his aunt, uncle, and cousins while his father is sick in the hospital. There are many stories told, from different mouths, about the events that take place before and during this time. Tomas helps his cousin Ines collect bugs all summer, and learns many interesting things ...more
Jan 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This delightful little book is translated from the Basque. It is at once child-like in its perspective and a bit surreal. Read as a series of vignettes of village life the narrator, young Tomas, bounces easily between his search for a magical blue dragonfly, the building of a secret rubgy field on the town golf course, to his search for stories of his grandfather who may have been the greatest carpenter in Europe.
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of international literature
Just finished Plants Don't Drink Coffee by Unai Elorriaga (a Basque author). It's refreshingly sweet & charming (& a little bit bittersweet too) -- a lovely little tale. The description/review that I linked is spot on, imo.

Definitely recommended, esp. for those who enjoy international literature.
Abby J
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was one of the most charming, engaging books I've ever read! Told from a child's perspective, the story deals with real human matters such as ambition, death, and memories.
Daniel Buitrago
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Hoy he terminado Vredaman, la novela de Unai Elorriaga (versión en castellano de Alfaguara, 2006). Ya fue reconocido y laureado por su novela Un tranvía en SP, como sus demás obras, escrita en euskera y traducida con posterioridad. De ésta recuerdo su tremenda fragmentación y aquel mosaico tan logrado en el que las piezas aparecían aisladas y a la vez íntimamente interrelacionadas. Asistíamos a los sueños y ensueños de su protagonista, subiendo los últimos peldaños de la vida como en una ascensi ...more
Jee Koh
May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stories told from different perspectives give a memorable picture of three generations of a Basque family. Tomas, whose father is dying in the hospital, is looking for a rare blue dragonfly that he believes will make him the most intelligent person in the world. His uncle Simon is determined to bring an international rugby match to their village, and so paints up a field in the local golf course. His cousin Mateo wants to know whether his grandfather Julian won the contest to become the bes ...more
May 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
This book was sent to me by the National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman, who recently was in Idaho. The Congressman and I spent a day with him in Boise and Twin Falls a few weeks ago. As a thank you Mr. Landesman and staff sent this book. This book is a translation from Basque to English the translation funded by the NEA. The book "four stories narrated from four perspectives....: Young Tomas - who wants above all else to be intelligent and embarks upon a dizzying search for a r ...more
Mar 11, 2007 rated it liked it
Vredaman entrellaça quatre històries: un nen que intenta caçar una libèl·lula blava per arribar a ser tan intel·ligent com un metge; dos amics que entren en un camp de golf a mitjanit, d'amagat, sense que ningú sàpiga què volen fer-hi; una dona que durant més de quaranta anys va festejar amb un arquitecte de renom internacional, però ningú no entén per què mai no es van casar, i un jove que descobreix per casualitat que el seu avi va participar en el Campionat d'Europa d'Ebenistes el 1927, i int ...more
Elly Sands
This is a quirky and very creative book. Unlike any I've ever read in both it's content and format. Although very innovative that doesn't mean that I totally enjoyed the storyline. The book is narrated by a young boy so it takes awhile to get used to the childlike dialogue. It is not only his story but also family members and friends. Some characters drew me in and others were less appealing. Well, I'm glad I read it simply because of it's uniqueness. So I guess I praise the writing style but th ...more
Somewhat too clearly aiming to charm and inspire, this multi-voiced collection of vignettes about a quirky extended (presumably Basque) family occasionally succeeds, but for me the vaguely oral-style repetition becomes trying after a dozen pages, especially in the "mouth" of the the youngest narrator. I found Tomas' search for information about his grandfather's participation in a European carpentry contest, and the parts about some uncles preparing for a big rugby match on a golf course somewha ...more
An entertaining book, it reminded me some of "The Curious Tale of The Dog in the Nighttime". One of the voices is a child with limited powers of observation, the limits that emphasize the important details often missed by adults.
There's a wealth of tales woven into this story of a small village. Rugby, carpentry, relations, familial and communial. It is a story told through rich, multidimensional characters.
May 31, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: europa
Este libro me hizo pensar en los doblajes de las pelis, cuando una voz de adulto dobla a un personaje infantil y usa una voz "aniñada". Sí, esoso que suelen hacer a los niños sonar como tontos, y en este libro es como suena, como si por ser niño tienes que hablar un poco como tontín. Por ese tono me costó entrarle al libro, y creerle al autor.
Will E
May 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: basque
Beautiful prose, though a little too meandering for my taste.
David Osuna
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
La historia comienza con las instrucciones, deliciosamente narradas, para hacer un café con leche. A partir de ahí, lo más cercano al realismo mágico desde Euskadi.
Jan 05, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Oh boy I love Archipelago books. And this one gets a great review by Three Percent, which I also love. Sweet!
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did a video review of this book at
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Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My son Jesse gave me this book; I held onto it for a few years before actually plunging in. "Plants Don’t Drink Coffee" transforms the reader as it casts a delightful spell bringing us into the world of a curious, impressionable child – simply charming. Read it slowly to savor its novelty.

“…And then I told them about grasshoppers. I told them how grasshoppers never fight. And I asked them, Have you ever seen a grasshopper fight? Because that’s what Ines asked me, Have you ever seen a grasshopper
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Unai Elorriaga López de Letona (Bilbao, 14 de febrero de 1973) es un escritor español en lengua vasca.

Nacido en Bilbao, ha vivido siempre en el barrio de Algorta del municipio de Guecho (Vizcaya). Licenciado en Filosofía y Letras, sección Filología Vasca por la Universidad de Deusto, es escritor y traductor. Ha publicado hasta el momento cuatro novelas, una obra de teatro y varias traducciones.

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“Do you play tennis? Anarchists play a lot of tennis. And Counts do too. Counts and anarchists are the kind of people who, right now, play tennis most.” 0 likes
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