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Guernica [Kindle Edition]

Dave Boling
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'love, loss, action, romance, drama and tradition in the face of won't be able to put it down.'
-- Woman's Own


'A heart-rending yet life-affirming story... not dissimilar to Louis de Bernières'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 641 KB
  • Print Length: 388 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0330460668
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition (23 July 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004AE2LMW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #250,096 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

A Chicago native, Dave Boling has been a journalist in the Pacific Northwest since 1980. Prior to that, he worked as a logger, iron-worker, boat-builder, bartender, bouncer, short-order cook, painter and college football coach. He lives on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Guernica, his first novel, was voted Richard and Judy's best 'Summer Read' for 2009.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good - but not great 25 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Everyone has heard of Guernica, the Basque town that was savagely bombed by the Luftwaffe on 26 April 1937, and most are aware of the famous painting by Picasso which, since the fall of fascism, has been on display in Madrid. Conveying the horror of that incident is not easy and this novel does it through the lives of two families related by marriage: the Ansotegui family - headed by the hard-working farmer Justo, married to Mariangeles, and father to the dancer Miren - and the Navarro family - centred on brothers Dodo, a fisherman, and Miguel, a carpenter. Miren and Miguel marry and have a beautiful daughter Catalina and befriend a blind soapmaker Alaia. In this story, some will live, some will die and some will be maimed both physically and psychologically. There are 'guest' appearances by some actual historic personages.

In many respects, this is an impressive work. For American journalist Dave Bowling, this is a formidable first novel - wonderfully researched, carefully structured, and immensely readable. His narrative of 370 pages starts in 1893 and ends in 1940 with the actual bombing - a very moving account - occuring almost exactly half way through. However, the publishers promote the novel as comparable to "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" and, while both deal with love and war, "Guernica" is simply not in the same class as Louis de Bernières' work. Here all the leading characters are one-dimensional (noble and/or heroic), the dialogue is stilted and undifferentiated between the characters, and the portrayal of the Basque cause is overly simplistic (in a Author's Note at the end, Boling states: "I tried not to tax the reader with elaborations on the complex and volatile politics at work at the time" - something that Bernières was willing to do).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant First Novel... 16 Nov 2010
Having recently visited Guernica and having read widely about the Basque people and the history of the region; I was just expecting a shallow novel, hooked over the tragic event that is immortalized by Picasso's painting. I could not put it down! The characters sprang out fully formed, i could hear and smell and taste the places. What a brilliant author to nail such an horrendous episode of human depravity with such care and compassion. It has been compared to Captain Corelli - and justly so. As writers they stand together documenting the worst and the best of humanity. On a ferry i saw a man reading it - i could see he was most of the way through - he was crying. That is powerful writing.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missed the mark 17 Jan 2009
By Arheddis Varkenjaab TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have a great love of the Basque country, and I visit often and know Guernica and the surrounding area fairly well, so I was really looking forward to reading this.

Unfortunatly I was disappointed. It's hard to put a finger on quite what is wrong with this book, but I think the main problem is it doesn't feel Basque. It feels like, well, it feels like what it is- an american's idea of the Basque country, and it feels wrong. The story is littered with jarring americanisims (cookies? strollers? I don't think so) and has it almost coming across as a disney tale. The story meanders along, with page after page of anecdotes, none of which seem to join together leaving you waiting perversely for the bombing you know is on the way. I had no connection with any of the painfully simplistic characters and the writing was borderline workmanlike so that even the bombing of Guerncia left me unmoved. Simple errors, like calling the Basque region 'Pays Basque' (the french name in spain?) rather than the Basque name of Euskal Herria stood out particularly badly.

This isn't a desperately bad book, and maybe as I know the basque area well it leaves me looking for more than I should, but there's a missed opportunity here for an good read. Gora Euskal Herria, but this story should be better told than this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rather Wonderful 28 May 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Stories which interweave real events can be a little hit and miss. Dave Boling's assertion is that this book should tell the story of the destruction of Geurnica as most people, like he himself, only know the story through the apocalyptic canvass of Picasso. Boling weaves Picasso into this deftly told story which centres on the lives of three brothers. The Picasso sub-plot is a bold addition which, like just about everything else here, he pulls off with aplomb.

From the very start this debut really does usher in someone who is a natural storyteller. His ear for characters is good and the descriptive passages evoke the wild Spanish landscape well. He moves the narrative forward easily and mixes the plot's highs and lows deftly.

I'm not going to give an in depth plot analysis because it's something people should really find for themselves. Love, death, politics, civil war, and rural Spanish family life all come together in a wonderful mix. Boling has opened his literary account with serious deposit which is worth investing your time in.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gurnica , best book ever written of it's genre. 19 Feb 2010
Guernica, what can I say.
Most of us have an image of Spain during the civil war .I live in Spain in the Campo & see all around me the legacy left behind by the Franco regime.
This book is so well written,thoughful, provocative & tender. I felt almost part of the whole story & part of the families that are within it's pages.
Although having seen the painting that Picasso did of Guernica until reading this book I truly hadn't considered the reality.
I for one couldn't put it down , I cried with happiness, frustration & grief .First book written about Spain that I have truly connected with. Buy it enjoy the journey.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 23 days ago by NMac
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring. I just didn't care what happened to any ...
Boring. I just didn't care what happened to any of the characters. It is a shame as the topic could have been so much more.
Published 1 month ago by Jane J
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillant, a must read.
Gripping and interesting story, beautifully written, intense and moving, quite a tear jerker as you really feel for the families that are followed, hard to put down (even when... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Katew
4.0 out of 5 stars war and conflict
very interesting . Good insight to the Spanish civil war and an amazing example of true love.would recommend this read.
Published 2 months ago by mgt griffin
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit mushy
Too much of a love story for me and not enough about the actual politics around the terrible event. Didn't think it was very well written either.
Published 3 months ago by Anni
2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea but far too all over the place
I thought I'd really like this book. I didn't. I thought it was poorly written, jumping all over the place with far to many characters. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ag siúl
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as gory as I anticipated
Bit slow at first but I became involved with the characters and could follow the plot. It's a book worth reading.
Published 3 months ago by Jackie gooding
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, gripping, draws you in, multilayered
Wonderfully absorbing book - layers the story of ordinary people in guernica alongside the story of Picasso painting his picture. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dr. Kathryn J. Parkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
This was chosen for book group and I loved this story and to find out more about what happened in Spanish cilil war
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. Barbra Gilvray
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning novel!
This is such a brilliant book! Not my usual kind of book, but thoroughly worth it.
A mix of historical, love story, pain, loss, redemption. Read more
Published 5 months ago by GS1
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Popular Highlights

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Justo learned from Miguel that if you lose someone you love, you need to redistribute your feelings rather than surrender them. You give them to whoever is left, and the rest you turn toward something that will keep you moving forward. &quote;
Highlighted by 23 Kindle users
Everyone is driven by what they want most. Figure out what that is, and you have the answer to who that person is. Most of the time it’s obvious, but all of us are usually too concerned about the things we want to ever stop and look at anybody else’s motives.” &quote;
Highlighted by 12 Kindle users
Picasso put his cup delicately onto its saucer, turned to the picture and then to the officer, and responded, “No. You did.” &quote;
Highlighted by 11 Kindle users

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