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Seven Houses in France by Bernardo Atxaga
Seven Houses in France by Bernardo Atxaga
Atxaga's novel set in King Leopold's Congo Free State has the simplicity of a fable, recounting the friendships and deadly rivalry of a small group of white men in a remote military post. The characters are caricatures and Atxaga's running jokes (Donatien's numerous siblings, the pretentious poet) become boring. There is not enough of the context of the Congo state's genocidal brutality to render the Belgians' isolation and complicity, and so the relations with natives are not believable. There are some annoying anachronisms that further break the spell - the men need not have been anxious about a visit by Henry Morton Stanley in late 1904 as in reality he had died that May; I don't know… Read more