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Author: Bernardo Atxaga
ISBN13: 978-0099492771
Title: The Accordionist's Son
Format: docx doc lit azw
ePUB size: 1367 kb
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Language: English
Publisher: Vintage Books (November 11, 2008)
Pages: 384

The Accordionist's Son by Bernardo Atxaga

Personal Name: Atxaga, Bernardo. Uniform Title: Soinujolearen semea. On this site it is impossible to download the book, read the book online or get the contents of a book. The administration of the site is not responsible for the content of the site. The data of catalog based on open source database. All rights are reserved by their owners. Download book The accordionist's son, Bernardo Atxaga ; translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa.

The Accordionist's Son is a remarkably powerful and accomplished novel, exploring the life of David Imaz, a former inhabitant of the Basque village of Obaba, now living in exile and ill-health on a ranch in California. As a young man, David divides his time between his uncle's ranch and his life in the village, where he reluctantly practises the accordion on the insistence of his authoritarian father.

By (author) Bernardo Atxaga, Translated by Margaret Jull Costa. The Accordionist's Son is a remarkably powerful and accomplished novel, exploring the life of David Imaz, a former inhabitant of the Basque village of Obaba, now living in exile and ill-health on a ranch in California. Bernardo Atxaga was born in Gipuzkoa in Spain in 1951 and lives in the Basque Country, writing in Basque and Spanish. He is a prizewinning novelist and poet, whose books, including Obabakoak and Seven Houses in France, have won critical acclaim in Spain and abroad.

The Accordionist's Son is a graceful, thought-provoking novel, David's daintily observed youth mined with the politics of the unsettled region. However the breadth of Bernardo Atxaga's intentions means many threads are unresolved; and because, rather like David Copperfield, this David goes through life more buffeted by the actions of others than propelling events himself, there is often the sense that many of the novel's critical scenes are taking place out of the reader's sight.

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The Accordionist's Son book. A celebrated international author, listed among the 21 top. With affection and lucidity, Bernardo Atxaga describes the evolution of a young man caught between country and town, between his uncle the horse-breeder and his political father. The course of David's life changes one summer night when he agrees to shelter a group of students on the run from the military police. This is the most accomplished novel to date by an internationally celebrated writer. The Accordionist's Son is memorable for its epic scope-from 1936 to 1999-and the details with which it sparkles in gorgeous prose

Also by Bernardo Atxaga. The Accordionist’s Son. The Lone Man. The Lone Woman. Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa. First published in Great Britain in 1992 by Hutchinson. In his eyes I must have seemed a soul in mortal danger, a child who, lacking a mother-she had died when I was born-was at the mercy of a hateful man, a man who would not hesitate to drag his own son into the abyss in which he himself lived. The canon must have thought there could be no better way of attracting me than through my friendship with my schoolfellows.

In The Accordionist's Son, one of these words is zulo, here translated as "hiding-place". Over the 60-year period that the novel covers, from the 1930s to the 1990s, this zulo is used for many different purposes, all of them essential to the lived history of the village of Obaba in the heart of the Basque country. The novel begins and ends far from Obaba. Like many Basques, the Imaz family have been forced to emigrate.

Taking us from 1936 to 1999, The Accordionist’s Son, heralded by the Times Literary Supplement as “the first great Basque novel,” is a beautiful and gripping tale of a town, a family, an incredible friendship and a people whose culture is slowly dying.From the Hardcover edition.
Reviews: 5
This book was highly recommended to me by my discerning friends Colm and Pireeni. The cover of my version bears the blurb "The most accomplished novel to date by an internationally celebrated writer." That didn't strike me as a ringing endorsement, but the further I read into the book the less I cared about how perfect the book might be as a work of fiction, and the more I cared about the life it so abundantly contains.

The novel mainly depicts a youth and his circle of friends and acquaintances in a small Basque town between the late 1950s and early 1970s as the Basque separatist movement rises. The novel places that movement in the context of Spanish Franco fascism in the 1930s when Basques themselves divided between fascist and republican. The main character is the son of the town accordionist who may or may not--I'll leave you to discover--been the fascist murderer of his fellow townsmen. The novel also places the movement in what had been the attempt of Spanish fascism to completely suppress Basque language and identity, even to the point of prohibiting the use of the Basque language on tombstones, not to mention general print. The book is loosely but effectively structured as a series of pieces from varying points of view, all collected as part of a "memoir" written by the son from his late 20th century exile in rural California. The book is rich as a novel and rich as a portrait of Basque people and their political life in the 20th century. At the same time, I was surprised and intrigued to see many of the same broad cultural forces playing out there that I experienced as a young American in the 1960s and early 1970s.

As the title suggests, there's an accordionist in the book, though the narrative doesn't suggest to me the author is closely familiar with the instrument. I could be wrong. But in the small world of accordion literature you might compare it to the more intimate Ratting on Russo
Internationally acclaimed Basque author Bernardo Atxaga is a poet as well as a novelist. His 2004 novel, "The Accordionist's Son", is, at one level, the coming-of-age story of David Imaz, a talented accordionist player in the footsteps of his father. The context, however, is different from many other comparable novels. Set in the remote village of Obaba, in the Basque country in northern Spain, the reader is quickly drawn into a vibrant community, torn into political factions, with families and neighbours pulled apart by ongoing hostilities and long-held secrets. Written originally in his own Basque language (Euskedi), Atxaga creates a world that is both specific in its depiction of the day-to-day reality while at the same time reaching beyond the specifics into the general in its subtle and perceptive evocation of human relations and our connection to land and nature. It is also an ode to an ancient language and a people's traditional culture, a loving, sometimes nostalgic look at the "past as a foreign country", exemplified by the peace and "happiness" of rural life. And as Atxaga expressed in an interview about a decade ago: "Obaba is an interior landscape [...] the country of my past, a mixture of the real and the emotional."

The "Accordionist's Son" is, then, a very personal and intimate recollection of life growing up caught between the old and the new. David is so taken by the "old" that the "new" can take him by surprise or, worse, lead him into dangerous traps. He is a slow, often hesitant learner when it comes to the political baggage that is still hanging over the village, reaching back into the dark days of the Spanish Civil War, WWII and their fallout. Obaba is not far from the town of Guernica, the memory of the thousands killed very much on people's minds. David prefers the woods, the lake and his simpler village friends like Lubis who looks after his uncle's horses. But he cannot always avoid making connections between present and past events: especially in relations with his father or some of his friends. First his uncle Juan shares a secret with him that, slowly, leads David to more discoveries and into deeper reflections. Even the decision whether or not to play the accordion at the fiesta can turn into a weighty decision. The opposing political sides confront each other increasingly forcefully and eventually, David has to take sides and act accordingly.

However, the novel opens with its ending. David had been working on his memoir, describing his youth back in the village and how his life led him, eventually, to California. Instead of him, we meet his wife Mary Ann and his childhood friend, Joseba; David has succumbed to his illness. Now, according to David's wishes it is up to Joseba, to translate his draft memoir, written in the Basque language, so that David's family can read it. He is also to take it back to Obaba to be placed in the library as a historical record of the struggle for the Basque Homeland. Joseba, a writer himself, "wanted to write a book based on what David had written, to rewrite and expand his memoir. [...] Not like someone pulling down a house and building a new one in its place, but in the spirit of someone finding a tree, on which some long-vanished shepherd had left a carving, and deciding to redraw the lines so as to bring out and enhance the drawing and the figures."

Joseba/David writes with great fluidity and we can only seldom separate the voices of the two friends. In real life, it would be an intriguing experiment and one can only assume that Bernardo Atxaga sees himself in both his characters, well characterized within their separate identities, and yet intimately connected to each other through the experiences of youth and young adulthood. For me discovering Bernardo Atxaga through this novel has been an enriching experience that will lead me to read other books by him. His evocation of the lush landscape, forests and hidden lakes, makes for a very convincing, often lyrical, background for his story that does not shy away from the political tensions and the personal conflicts of the time. His ability to bring a diversity of characters to life - and there are quite a few - is remarkable and some of them stay in your mind long after you finished the book. Some readers might find some of the early passages of young David's teenage preoccupations too long, but these would be minor flaws.

Instead of an epigraph The Accordionist's Son opens with a poem:
The death and life of words:
This is how they die,
the old words:
like snowflakes which,
after hesitating in the air,
fall to the ground
without as much as a sigh
or should I say: without a word.
Sometimes they [new words] are born out of laughter
and float like dandelion clocks in the air.
Look how they rise into the sky,
look how it is snowing up there.

It beautifully reflects the spirit of the novel. [Friederike Knabe]
It's an interesting book, particularly for readers with an interest in history, as it describes life in Spain at the time of Franco's dictatorial regime. It describes in detail the social fracturing that occurs when one political ideology suppresses all others. It's a long read and the author uses a complex structure to tell his story, so it's not a book to put down for long or you'll lose the many threads.