Obabakoak: Stories from a Village

Obabakoak: Stories from a Village

by Atxaga
     
 

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"A brilliantly inventive writer ... he understands the nature of storytelling and is at once terribly moving and wildy funny."—A.S. Byatt

Obabakoak is a shimmering, mercurial collection about life in Obaba, a remote, exotic Basque village. A schoolboy's miningengineer father tricks him into growing up, an unfortunate

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Overview

"A brilliantly inventive writer ... he understands the nature of storytelling and is at once terribly moving and wildy funny."—A.S. Byatt

Obabakoak is a shimmering, mercurial collection about life in Obaba, a remote, exotic Basque village. A schoolboy's miningengineer father tricks him into growing up, an unfortunate environmentalist rescues deceptively harmless lizards, and a rescue mission on a Swiss mountain-climbing expedition in Nepal turns into murder. Obaba is peopled with innocents and intellectuals, shepherds and schoolchildren, while everyone from a lovelorn schoolmistress to a cultured but self-hating dwarf wanders across the page. Hints of darker undercurrents mingle with moments of wry humor in this dazzling collage of stories, town gossip, diary excerpts, and literary theory, all held together by Bernardo Atxaga's distinctive and tenderly ironic voice. An unforgettable work from an international literary giant, whom The Observer (London) listed among the top twenty-one writers of the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Atxaga holds the attention by his sheer craft, by the complete control he exhibits.” —The Independent
Library Journal
In this collection, named for the Basque village of Obaba, acclaimed novelist/poet Atxaga (The Accordionist's Son) presents stories of his neighbors at home and in their travels. (Atxaga translated this work from Basque to Spanish, while Costa translated from Spanish to English.) The major part of the collection deals with a literary gathering at the home of the "uncle from Montevideo," who hosts friends monthly for a bout of drinking and storytelling. The stories themselves are presented here, with the activities of the participants seen in alternate chapters. One of the storytellers theorizes that "a story amounts to nothing more than a simple arithmetical operation. Not an operation involving numbers, of course, but one based on the addition and subtraction of elements such as love, hate, hope, desire, honor, and other such things." What's added here is usually time and reflection, as many of the stories go back to childhood, as viewed through wiser and more experienced eyes. VERDICT The reader whose adventures come mainly through the printed page will welcome this collection, set mostly in Basque Spain, though there are occasional forays into other locales such as Germany and the Amazon. Recommended for short story and world literature readers.—Debbie Bogenshutz, Johnnie Mae Berry Lib., Cincinatti, OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555975517
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Publication date:
03/02/2010
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
780,306
Product dimensions:
9.04(w) x 6.02(h) x 0.87(d)

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Meet the Author

Bernardo Atxaga was born in Gipuzkoa, Spain, in 1951 and lives in the Basque Country, writing in Basque and Spanish. He is a prizewinning novelist and poet whose books include The Accordionist's Son, The Lone Man, and The Lone Woman.

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