you think about the past, do you remember accurately? Do others recall
what you do? The memories of Joni, Mariana, and Iker overlap, but they
aren't exactly the same, especially when it comes to the murder of
Mariana's husband, Councilman Jose Antonio Torres.
This morning the front page of the Diario Vasco—for once—shares the same headline as the other Spanish newspapers. Sabino Garamendi's newsstand is wallpapered with photographs of the Atocha train station in Madrid, each cover depicting train carriages that had burst from the inside as if they were overshaken cans of soda, the aluminum paneling peeled back, revealing their contents: strips of dark fabric, handfuls of foam cushioning, bits of bone, women's shoes, the pages of a child's notebook. It is the twelfth day of March 2004.—All That Followed by Gabriel Urza (Henry Holt, 2015, p. 1)
- Setting: village of Muriga, Basque country, northern Spain, 2004
- Circumstances: The March 2004 terrorist attacks in Madrid cause three villagers to remember the murder of a local politician, which occurred five years earlier.
- Characters: Joni, an American ex-pat English teacher (male); Mariana, the widow of the murdered politician; Iker, serving time in prison for the murder of the politician (male); various family members, friends, neighbors, and townsfolk
- Genre: thriller / mystery
- Themes: insular behavior of small towns, levels of violence (local, global), politics, memory, complex relationships among people
- Main characters: The story is told from three perspectives and we learn through their eyes that each person sees and remembers different things. Their lives are intertwined in complicated ways, for example: Joni, though married, has always been attracted to Mariana. Mariana writes to Iker, who is in prison for killing her husband. Iker used to be a student of Joni's.
- What I have learned so far: I haven't read much of the book yet, but I did look over reviews and publicity material, and I like the complexity of the novel and how the past and present can become twisted together. How an event in a big city, far removed, can have an effect on small town with a strong cultural identity. The Basque country, culture, and language are important to the story. The novel is set up like the old Columbo television show: we know the outcome at the beginning, but we don't yet know how events culminated in that crime.
- About the author: Gabriel Uraz's family is from the Basque region and he has also lived there; this background informs his novel. He has both an MFA and a law degree.