BY DAVE BOLING
Guernica was the Basque town bombed horrifically by Hitler’s planes on the eve of WWII in support of Franco during the Spanish Civil War. In this courageous debut novel, Dave Boling has weaved a beautiful and touching story about two families, brought together through marriage whose lives are so dramatically changed on 26th April 1937. Through the devastation and despair we are drawn into a captivating story of love and endurance extending through two generations.
Dave Boling presents the horrors of Guernica without being violently graphic. This is achieved by flawlessly balancing the poverty, suffering and grief of his characters with their beauty and warmth. We are sucked into the Basque family traditions and way of life so when the town is torn apart in a flash on a cloudless beautiful day we too are momentarily left stunned and emotionally drained. As those left behind begin to rebuild their lives, and try to move on with such dignity, so do we.
Boling also cleverly fictionalises real historical people into the story. He gives us suggested insights into the minds of Wolfram von Richthofen just before and after his calculated and meticulously planned bombing that caused maximum damage to the town without one casualty on his side. Several times Picasso enters into the story, suggested what might have been his inspiration for his famous Guernica mural.
The events of that day in Guernica are shocking but this is a touching and poignant account and the Den came away totally moved but with hope - as all the while the Guernica oak tree and its beauty lives on.
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