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Obabakoak Admirada por miles de lectores elogiada por la crítica y traducida a numerosas lenguas Obabakoak destaca por la perfección con ue se engarzan las historias ue presenta así como por la arrebatadora imaginación de su autor y la maestría con ue éste consigue impolicar al lector en los ambientes y situaciones ue describe Esta joya literaria contiene también una de las más conmovedoras reflexiones sobre la escritura y la literatura vascas Premio Nacional de Literatura premio de la Crítica y Premio Euskadi entre otros Obabakoak contiene imágenes mundos y personajes ue no abandonarán fácilmente la memoria del lectorAsimismo el presente título ha inspirado la película Obaba de Montxo Armendáriz director y guionista repetidamente galardonado entre cuyos títulos se hallan Tasio Historias del Kronen Secretos del corazón nominada al Oscar y Silencio roto

About the Author: Bernardo Atxaga

Bernardo Atxaga Joseba Irazu Garmendia Asteasu Guipúzcoa 1951 belongs to the young group of Basue 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 BarcelonaHis first short story Ziutateaz was published in 1976 and his first book of poetry Etiopia in 1978 Both

10 thoughts on “Obabakoak

  1. Jesse Jesse says:

    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 basue 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

  2. Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly says:

    Obaba is a place a Basue village Obabakoak means the people and things of Obaba originally written in Basue 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 SpanishI 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

  3. Emma Sea Emma Sea says:

    Utterly lovely and elegantly woven together

  4. Michael Michael says:

    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 storiesAt 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 traditionsThis 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

  5. David David says:

    Awhile ago I had read The Accordionist’s Son by Bernardo Atxaga That was uite the story Then I came across this list by the Guardian of the ten best books set in Spain and Obabakoak was on the listhttpswwwtheguardiancomtravel20Obabakoak Those people from Obaba Obaba an imaginary place in the Basue Country Euskal Herria El País VascoAlthough it seems like a collection of short stories it is there is a thin line a very thin that binds them together The book is divided into three sections Infancias childhoods; Nueve palabras en honor del pueblo de Villamediana Nine words in honor of the village of Villamediana; and En busca de la última palabra In search for the final word The stories in Infancias are loosely connected all reveal something missing in the lives of the main characters Esteban Wefell recalls a past love from his time in Hamburg; the revealing letter from the priest Lizardi tells the story of a boy who goes missing at the same time that a wild boar terrorizes the town; the arrival of the train passing every night has two sides of the story as told from two women Katharina and MarieNine words are actually nine stories that tell the one year stay of Martín who stays on the island of Villamediana He in turn learns to appreciate these people in a series of incidents as he learns about himselfBut the vast majority of the book is the third section A young man returns to Obaba in search of the characters in a primary school photo If you look closely a young Ismael is holding a small lizard up to the ear of Albino Marie who after the photo becomes crazy Why did he do this? Did the lizard enter the ear and eat his brain as the author claims? In the search for these old school mates his uncle is invited along who is teaching his nephew the art of story telling There are twenty stories as well as the actual search for the lizard incident Along the way we make the connections to several of the previous stories Things start to fall into placeThe stories are without a doubt very entertaining In fact I often lost myself in the absurdity or the believability of each one As for the meaning of the book I might put forth my own thought it’s all about the act of story telling As readers we love a good story The act of a good writer is to keep us entertained On all accounts Atxaga succeedsThis edition includes several essays by Atxaga that explains Obaba the Basue language and it’s people and a “sort of” autobiography I can certainly say this helps a lot The Basue people are a proud people that during the 20th century faced huge challenges Hitler was allowed to bomb Guernika as Franco saw the Basues as traitors and stopped all teaching in schools of their own language In 1980 Euskal Herria or Basue Country was formed to continue their language and customs by the Spanish people Bernardo Atxaga writes in Basue and translates his own books to Spanish Although the focus of his work is the Basue people his stories are very universalAfter reading two of his books I must say I am very impressed with his work and hope to read A full five stars I can see why that book is on the list

  6. Drew Drew says:

    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

  7. Jessica Jessica says:

    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 Basue village or Hamburg but it's than 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 provokingOther 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 themselvesOh I agree I think a good ending's indispensable An ending that's both a conseuence of everything that's come before and something else besides

  8. Adam Adam says:

    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 write later

  9. Irina Irina says:

    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 Basue 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 occurFirst part of the book creates a kind of history of mysterious occurrences which are often explained at the end of each sketchstory 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

  10. Regan Regan says:

    At once a performative discourse on Basue 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 Basue 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

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