English | ePUB | 1.4 MiB
Fernando Aramburu’s internationally acclaimed novel evokes an unresolved history of violence, giving a fictional account of lives shattered by Basque terrorism even as it rekindles debate about truth and reconciliation.
Lifetime friends become bitter enemies when the father of one family is killed by militants – one of whom is a son from the other family. Told in short sections highlighting a rich multiplicity of characters from all walks of life, Homeland brilliantly unfolds in nonlinear fashion as it traces the moral dilemmas faced by the families of murder victim and perpetrator alike. Aramburu alludes only obliquely to the historical context while he focuses on the psychological complexity of his characters and builds nearly unbearable suspense.
Kalliope: This novel has been a huge success in Spain recently. From September 2016 to July 2017, that is ten months after it was first published, it has run through twenty editions. Several of my friends have read or are reading it and a few recommended it to me. Generally I am not much drawn to bestsellers and this one was no exception. But I received it recently as a present from a family member, so I decided to face my prejudices.
The novel deals with two Basque families from around the 1980s to the recent present and how they deal with the activity of the terrorist group ETA. It begins when the group announced it was suspending its armed fight (20th of October 2011), and finishes a few months later. The story, however, offers a great deal of flashbacks, so the reader really goes back three decades.
The two families were closed friends but during those years turned into enemies. ETA assassinated the father in one of the families, and one son of the other became a member of the terrorist group. Not until later in the novel do we learn whether this son was the actual killer of the man who had bought him toys and ice creams when he was a child. And in this the novel is successful, in portraying how the one killing affected the lives of the other eight; for it affected the family of the dead father and the family of the terrorist member.
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