“Short Fiction on Basque Conflicts” published in Spanish

This book, an anthology of short novels and short stories written in Basque between 2000 and 2012, appeared first in an English translation by the Center of Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. It is called Our Wars: Short Fiction on Basque Conflicts [Nuestras guerras. Relatos sobre los conflictos vascos].

The American publisher’s summary is this: “Our Wars brings together a wide-ranging collection of stories on the endemic violence that plagued the Basque Country from the eruption of civil war in Spain in 1936 until the definitive ceasefire of ETA in 2011. The voices that emerge are multifaceted: an effeminate Americano innkeeper who must make surprising changes in order to survive and escape the violence that has engulfed his repatriated homeland, a man fleeing the police who finds himself in a surprising book club, a father worried about his daughter’s loss of identity, parents anxiously awaiting and dreading a phone call, an estranged wife’s paranoia when her husband pops up on the news, and much, much more. The themes of story-telling, transformation, and memory resonate with the power of lived experience. Selected and with an incisive explanatory introduction by Mikel Ayerbe Sudupe, these stories are “about” Basque violence, but are also much more…” (source)

Now, nearly three years after ETA declared an end to its armed struggle, there has come the time for Spanish readers. According to the critic Jon Kortazar, this work is meant to be a part of the historical memory of the war years’ violence. The anthology’s central pieces are two short novels, one is an extract of Bernado Atxaga’s The Accordeonist’s Son, the other an extract of Ramón Saizarbitoria’s Guárdame bajo tierra [Keep me under earth]. Nine short stories treat the violence; Kortazar calls them “narratives that impact in pain and suffering.”

Among the authors are Atxaga (Guipuzkoa, 1951; Wikipedia), Saizarbitoria (Guipuzkoa, 1944; Wikipedia), Jokin Muñoz (Navarra, 1963), Eider Rodriguez (Guipuzkoa, 1977), Aingeru Epaltza (Navarra, 1960), Ur Apalategi (Paris, 1972), Harkaitz Cano (Guipuzkoa, 1975; homepage), Joseba Gabilondo (Guipuzkoa, 1963; homepage), Arantxa Iturbe (Guipuzkoa, 1964), and Karmele Jaio (Álava, 1970).

According to Kortazar, “the stories show that they follow Bernardo Atxaga’s idea: ‘Instead of the facts (or: the events), I am more interested in how the characters end up.'”

(One can see the commitment to Basque nationalism of the lesser-known authors of this anthology from the fact that most of their Wikipedia profiles are written in Basque, and Basque only… )

SOURCES: Center for Basque StudiesEl País, Sept. 1, 2014; Wikipedia

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