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Obabakoak
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1001 book reviews > Obabakoak, by Bernardo Atxaga

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message 1: by Jamie (last edited Aug 21, 2018 03:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 481 comments This is not really a novel, but a collection of stories, with the last section of stories linked together within the context of a literary evening about short stories. As a set of vignettes about life in the Basque region of Spain, this is a nice book, but I had a hard time getting into it. The writing is good, but not particularly engaging or compelling. Still, there are so few books from Basque Spanish authors that this one is worth reading. I did like the recurring theme of lizards, and the fanciful notion of them crawling into kids' brains through their ears.
I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads, but a 6 rating out of 10 on my own 10-point scale.


message 2: by Gail (last edited Aug 21, 2019 11:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gail (gailifer) | 1543 comments I read this book as part of the 2019 Diversity Challenge.

Although most of the stories in this collection take place in or around a small village in Basque country called Obaba, the book is less about the Basque culture or people and more about the nature of language, particularly written language. The book was written in Basque, translated to Spanish by the author and then I read an English translation from the Spanish. As one of the few authors writing in Basque, Atxaga uses various written approaches including diaries, journals, recorded verbal story telling, and a deft charming narrative style to pull this collection of short stories and metafiction together. Atxaga uses many literary traditions to write about the process of writing and the process of story telling. He ties in stories from about Hamburg, the Amazon and the middle east while the narrator never seems to stray too far from Obaba. In addition, he is aware of and uses the devices of other authors including Waugh and Checkov. One of the stories is titled: "How to Plagiarize" and another is titled: "How to Write a Story in Five Minutes" and the author often spends time describing the paper the narrator is going to write on, or the number of curves in the road before the narrator can get home to read.
However, for all the narrative charm and humor, the collection has a eerie resonance as many of the stories are about loss of a loved one, or the loss of a self. I actually had a difficult time getting to sleep after finishing this book.


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