I hadn't heard about the German bombing of the small Spanish town Guernica in the late 1930s, so was interested in the historical detail of this novel as much as the story itself. I found myself desperate to finish it and find out 'what happens next' even though I knew the ending.
Boling creates an environment and characters so rich and real that I was desperate to read more but at the same time dreading turning the page, as I knew the friends I had made and their happiness was all too soon going to be shattered. While the bombing is based on fact, Boling's characters are fictional; however it is easy to believe that people like Miguel, Miren, Justo and Alaia existed. Boling has an ear for dialogue and an eye for detail, so that you can smell the soaps Alaia makes, see Miguel and Miren dance at their wedding and, with sickening alcarity, taste the destruction as the bombs hit the town.
Picasso also features in the book, as he drew a huge canvas following the bombing, and Boling's insight into his mind, and indeed into the minds of all his characters, is breathakingly intuitive. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Thank you Mr Boling for teaching me so much about something I knew nothing about and for giving me an extraordinary reading experience.