!!> BOOKS ✺ Obabakoak ✰ Author Bernardo Atxaga – Snackgo.co.uk

Obabakoak At once a performative discourse on Basque literature, as well as a plagiarism of other archetypal stories, this book offers but a slinty glimpse of what it is to form oneself as an imaginative writer in a tongue that is largely unknown, without losing one s sense of place or history Significantly, this collection of tales is translated from Basque to Spanish, and only comes to the English speaking world by way of Spanish translation It s rather tragic, but perhaps fitting this translationa At once a performative discourse on Basque literature, as well as a plagiarism of other archetypal stories, this book offers but a slinty glimpse of what it is to form oneself as an imaginative writer in a tongue that is largely unknown, without losing one s sense of place or history Significantly, this collection of tales is translated from Basque to Spanish, and only comes to the English speaking world by way of Spanish translation It s rather tragic, but perhaps fitting this translational circumlocutory route Though tagged a novel, Obabakoak is better described as a series of fictions, tied together only by their setting in the village of Obaba But each separate story is lovingly told, and the whole comes together to give the reader a great sense of place Atxaga also runs certain themes throughout the book, with different apparitions through the various fictions, that come together also to give the book that sense of wholeness not present in certain collections of stories.At its heart, I think Obab Though tagged a novel, Obabakoak is better described as a series of fictions, tied together only by their setting in the village of Obaba But each separate story is lovingly told, and the whole comes together to give the reader a great sense of place Atxaga also runs certain themes throughout the book, with different apparitions through the various fictions, that come together also to give the book that sense of wholeness not present in certain collections of stories.At its heart, I think Obabakoak is less a temple to the people of Obaba than it is to the act of storytelling itself Common themes include the roundabout ways that people come to tell stories, the interruptions to stories being told sometimes with other stories , and the simple human struggle to communicate and express There is a significant portion of the book dedicated to what one might construe as literary theory, using both fictions and plain statements from characters to explain to the reader about the values that surround storytelling and how we decide what makes for a good story The examination of storytelling that remains central throughout the book also allows Atxaga to weave casual fantasies into his reality a very subtle mystical realism which blend is also a common presence in any storytelling traditions.This is not a book filled with overpowering emotions And, to its credit, there are no bad guys or good guys It is, instead, a much softer literary being, gently and subtly touching the reader much the way we would come to expect from the people of Obaba , and always offering its characters the opportunity for self redemption I think it is one I will read from again and again Uusi Ni Maailmankirjallisuudessa, Tarinoiden Tarina, Kertomus Kertomisesta Baskikirjailijan Omaper Inen, Viihdytt V Ja Lyllinen RomaaniT M N Kirjan Nimi Merkitsee Obaban Tapahtumia Obaba On Tarunomainen Vuoristokyl , Johon Kirjan Kertomusta Liittyv T Kertomukset Ovat Itsen Isi , Mutta Punoutuvat Toisiinsa Monikerroksiseksi Kokonaisuudeksi Henkil In Tapaamme Muiden Muassa Lemmest Riutuvan Opettajattaren Joka Tekee Kohtalokkaan Erehdyksen Pojan Jonka Is Saa Aikuistumaan Ovelan Juonen Avulla Toisen Pojan Joka Muuttuu Villikarjuksi Kaksi Yst Vyst , Jotka Kertovat Toisilleen Tarinoita Pohtien Samalla Vanhan Luokkakuvan Her Tt M Arvoitusta Voiko Sisilisko Ry Mi Ihmisen Korvasta Sis N Ja Sy D Aivot Obabakoak On Samalla Kertaa Tuore Ja Ajaton, Se On Meid N Aikamme Decamerone Tai Tuhat Ja Yksi Y T Sen Juuret Ovat Baskien Maaper Ss Ja Perinteiss , Mutta My S Muiden Maiden Kansatarinoissa, Eurooppalaisessa Kirjallisuudessa Ja Modernissa Kirjallisuusteoriassa Atxaga Istuttaa Omat Tarinansa Olemassa Oleviin Tekstilajeihin, Sekoittaa Ja Plagioi Niit H N Tarjoaa Sek Aitoa Lukemisen Riemua Ett Ty Stett V Ajatuksille H Nen Teostaan Lukiessa Tuntuu Kuin P Sisi Seuraamaan Itsens Kirjallisuuden Syntym Utterly lovely, and elegantly woven together. This was a very interesting book On one level it s a collection of short stories that are only slightly related to each other by their settings most taking place in Obaba a Basque village or Hamburg but it sthan that Atxaga has intertwined thoughts on writing, literary interpretation, and what makes story good with tales that typify these thoughts These stories were entertaining and often thought provoking.Other reviewers have commented that there is a bit of magic realism in Obab This was a very interesting book On one level it s a collection of short stories that are only slightly related to each other by their settings most taking place in Obaba a Basque village or Hamburg but it sthan that Atxaga has intertwined thoughts on writing, literary interpretation, and what makes story good with tales that typify these thoughts These stories were entertaining and often thought provoking.Other reviewers have commented that there is a bit of magic realism in Obabakoak, but I would disagree I suppose it depends on one s definition of the term, but I think of magic realism as referring to the types of stories written by authors like Borges, in which fantastic things things that could not possibly happen in our world because they defy its physics, biology, or technological possibilities are mixed in with events that are perfectly possible in real life These magical elements are told in a straightforward manner, as if they were part of reality, and take place in settings we are familiar with, not in some imagined future or made up world Some of the stories in Obabakoak, especially the main storyline of In Search of the Last Word, which, with its embedded short stories, accounts for about half of the book, have components or endings that seem to push the boundaries of what might actually occur in real life However, when examined, it can be seen that they never truly leave the realm of reality The very end, in particular, may seem a little contrived, but it is something that could happen and, in fact, falls in line with some of the thoughts on good stories expounded upon by the characters themselves Oh, I agree, I think a good ending s indispensable An ending that s both a consequence of everything that s come before and something else besides This is how short stories are supposed to be tight, elegant, meaningful, and loosely interconnected Don t give me that minimalist, Carverite, slice of life bullshit. This book circumvents serious review by containing its own exegesis, and by existing from such subtle and deft construction that to explain or examine OBABAKOAK is to take something away from future readers Read this book Seriously, read this book I ll writelater. In our age of pragmatism and in our country, where social realism found a fertile audience, there has appeared a book of magic so unprepossessing that some mistake it for its opposite a clear description of a real place The many events in this book occur in a Basque village of Obaba a real place, according to its author After the Decadents and the Symbolists, and even the Romantics, we should beware of reality of phenomena and the ideality of words The events, however, are not as cl In our age of pragmatism and in our country, where social realism found a fertile audience, there has appeared a book of magic so unprepossessing that some mistake it for its opposite a clear description of a real place The many events in this book occur in a Basque village of Obaba a real place, according to its author After the Decadents and the Symbolists, and even the Romantics, we should beware of reality of phenomena and the ideality of words The events, however, are not as clear cut real as, perhaps, the place where they occur.First part of the book creates a kind of history of mysterious occurrences which are often explained at the end of each sketch story by some rational circumstances But the initial words have already taken root, they have sprouted the leaves of magic in the reader s mind And that is where the world of Obaba is located Its inhabitants the most lively and flexible of all creatures are words The second part of the book provides for us a setting, a mood of misty calm, lurking surprises, breathtaking beauty and human unpredictability in the world of Obaba It creates a background on which part three is drawn with a very precise frame story and filled in with clear cut drawings of each sub story Altogether they make up a painting, consisting of small well defined scenes combined to create a playful world turned onto itself Because, after all, the dwellers are words, and they can do ANYTHING this is a wholly engaging novel, of love, cultural preservation, and the power of narrative all blended with an early hemingway prose infused with a healthy dose of magical realism and only the very best parts of this much maligned style atxaga examines not only what makes stories appealling but,importantly, why narrative endures this is really a hermetically sealed book which could be called a novel, or interconnected short stories, depending on if you think a place can be a prota this is a wholly engaging novel, of love, cultural preservation, and the power of narrative all blended with an early hemingway prose infused with a healthy dose of magical realism and only the very best parts of this much maligned style atxaga examines not only what makes stories appealling but,importantly, why narrative endures this is really a hermetically sealed book which could be called a novel, or interconnected short stories, depending on if you think a place can be a protagonist for a whole novel it contains analysis of the very stories it s telling as well as an explanation as to why these stories deserve telling i really don t want to delve to much into the whole meaning of the book as it s such a great reading experience it is something wholly different, which stands as a modern day arabian nights , or a literary basque bible either way it is a document that stands as a testament to a love of culture, a love of literature and by extention and very definition a love of man this is easily one of the best ten books i ve ever read, comparable with a death in the family , the known world , or infinite jest , not in theme, of course, but in use of literature as love highly recommended Obaba is a place, a Basque village Obabakoak means the people and things of Obaba originally written in Basque an almost dead language, understood only by a few , it was later translated into Spanish where it was received with acclaim in Europe This English version was a translation from the Spanish.I felt I could have written this book myself I had also lived in an Obaba during my younger years, an obscure town in a small island facing the Pacific Ocean During those times the town h Obaba is a place, a Basque village Obabakoak means the people and things of Obaba originally written in Basque an almost dead language, understood only by a few , it was later translated into Spanish where it was received with acclaim in Europe This English version was a translation from the Spanish.I felt I could have written this book myself I had also lived in an Obaba during my younger years, an obscure town in a small island facing the Pacific Ocean During those times the town had no electricity and we survived the tedium of our very slow lives by stories orally delivered Whether it was morning, noon or nighttime you can find groups of men and women huddled in their favorite nook in the town, discussing recent events, local myths, the remembered dead and crazy ideas My uncle Tata Teban, my father and his aswang friends all masterful story tellers with seemingly endless tales like those in this book, by the simple folks of Obaba


About the Author: Bernardo Atxaga

Bernardo Atxaga Joseba Irazu Garmendia, Asteasu, Guip zcoa, 1951 belongs to the young group of Basque writers that began publishing in his mother language, Euskara, in the Seventies Graduated in Economics for the Bilbao University, he later studied Philosophy at the University of Barcelona.His first short story, Ziutateaz was published in 1976 and his first book of poetry Etiopia in 1978 Both works received the National Critics Prize for the best works in the Basque language.He cultivates most genres poetry, radio, cinema scriptwriting, theatre, children s books, articles, short stories His national and soon after international recognition arrived with Obabakoak 1988 which, among other prizes, was awarded the National Literature Prize 1989 and that has been translated intothan twenty languages.Many of his poems have also been translated into other languages and published by prestigious magazines such as Jahbuch der Lyrik, 1993, Die horen, 1995, Lichtungen, 1997 Germany , Lyrikklubbss bibliotek, 1993 Sweden , Vuelta, 1990 Mexico , Linea d ombra, 1992 Italy and others.


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