Snippet: Martín Abrisketa’s “Language of Secrets”

Martín Abrisketa (Bilbao, 1967, photojournalist), La lengua de los secretos [The language of secrets]

Publisher’s summary:

Martintxo was born in a cheese: his native Arrigorriaga was perforated by the mines that brought a lot of people to a land whose inhabitants still looked after cows and spoke “the language of secrets” [i.e. Basque]. Still a child he also sees how the [Spanish Civil] war perforates his village with the German pilots’ bombs. After being separated from his parents [as a 10-year-old when his mother is in hospital and his father forced to fight the war], he needs to guide his three siblings and flee the devastation; first to Santander [neighboring Cantabria] and later to a small village in the French Alps, as “children of the war.”

La lengua de los secretos is a moving and at the same time magic novel, able to involve us in the sensibility of a mischievous and very brave boy, who finds himself forced to protect his siblings and to fight the war’s barbarity with nothing but imagination and dreams.

From a critc’s review:

With the exception of some too sugary peaks, … this book is of an exquisite sensibility and a great emotional intensity, when it describes the author’s conversations with his father. Martín’s adventures alternate with chapters in which the author describes the relation with his father. … This is a magic book. The discovery of an excellent author who takes us by the hand and leads us gently to fly over Neverland with the green fields of the Basque Country… A jewel.

Carina Farreras, La Vanguardia

The critic has compared it to El otro árbol de Guernica [The other tree of Guernica; 1967] by Luis de Castresana, a “war child” himself, which was made into a film.

SOURCE: elplacerdelalectura.com; “Cultura/s,” La Vanguardia, March 28, 2015, pp. 4-5 [printed edition]

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