The latest work of the Basque sociologist, poet and writer Ramón Saizarbitoria (San Sebastian, 1944), Martutene, is now available in a Spanish translation and has gained a lot of praise. Laura Ferrero wrote an enthusiastic review in La Vanguardia‘s supplement “Culturas” (June 19, 2013, pp. 12-13). She summarized the book as follows:
“In Martutene, Saizarbitoria presents two stories in one. The one of a man called Abaitua, a ginecologist tortured by far away guilt, and that of Julia, a translator. The two’s voices alternate the thread of events. The stories of Abaitua with his wife Pilar, a couple settled in the conveniences of a life without emotion, not even true agreement. On the other hand there is Julia’s life, wife of Martín, the frustrated great writer and half-God in front of whom she has had to bow down more than once. Into these quiet lives that are also full of boredom appears Lynn, a young American sociologist who stays at Martín and Julia’s house. Lynn’s arrival functions like a catalyst for the emotional/romantic experiences of the two couples. It offers them the possibility to be someone else and to see themselves in a new mirror: that of love, guilt, and failure. Lynn encarnates the attraction of the unknown as well as the implicit guilt after the desire … A story that portrays romantic triangles from an unusual perspective: that of the injustices committed by the married couples against those who interfere in their lives… Martutene concentrates on apparently insignificant aspects that expose our miseries and our deepest fears as human beings. This is its greatness, that makes the novel unique.”
Constructed like an homage to Max Frisch’s Montauk.
The only up-to-date Wikipedia article on Saizarbitoria, i.e. including what seems to be the complete bibliography, is written in Basque…