18 August 2015

Today's Read: All That Followed by Gabriel Urza

All That Followed by Gabriel UrzaWhen 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)

Quick Facts
  • 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.

23 comments:

Sherry Fundin 8/18/15, 6:47 AM  

If two people see or attend the exact same event, you will get two different answers. I love to people watch and test myself on my observation skills.
sherry @ fundinmental

Juli Witte 8/18/15, 7:36 AM  

I remember the Madrid bombings but only vaguely, which fits in perfectly with the theme of this book. Everyone always remembers things differently, I think, and yet I'm still surprised to see how much memories can diverge! Thanks for sharing :) I hope you have a great week!
My Tuesday post
Juli @ Universe in Words

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 8/18/15, 7:53 AM  

I've had my eye on this one, but have also heard mixed things about it. I did like the intro, so I'd keep reading!

Laura Thomas 8/18/15, 8:11 AM  

Great choice! It seems as I get older I don't remember long ago events correctly. Either that or others don't either. I wonder if we skew things unconsciously?

Here's my TT - http://fuonlyknew.com/2015/08/18/teaser-tuesdays-126-ghosts-among-men/

Kay 8/18/15, 8:44 AM  

I often really like books that start with event and work back to see how it happened and connections. This one sounds like that sort of book. I liked the teaser. Putting it on my list. I'm not sure I've read a mystery set in Spain.

bermudaonion 8/18/15, 8:47 AM  

My sister and I remember some things from our childhood differently so I can see why their memories would differ. This sounds good to me.

Kathy Martin 8/18/15, 9:00 AM  

Sounds interesting. My teaser this week comes from Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews. Happy reading!

Trish 8/18/15, 9:29 AM  

oh this sounds really good. I'm going to look more into this. thanks for sharing!

trish - my teaser

rhapsodyinbooks 8/18/15, 9:37 AM  

Well, judging from the frequency of fights Jim and I have over what we each think actually happened or actually was said, I'd say the issue is perfect for a crime novel!

Catherine BookClubLibrarian 8/18/15, 9:44 AM  

This sounds really good. I'm adding it to my TBR.

Daryl 8/18/15, 9:54 AM  

intriguing .. thanks!!!

Literary Feline 8/18/15, 10:45 AM  

That's quite an opening! What a devastating scene to come onto. You've definitely have me curious about this book and author. The setting itself I find intriguing.

Laurel-Rain Snow 8/18/15, 10:50 AM  

I love the sound of this one, and I can relate to the different memories people have of incidents. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Harvee Lau - Book Dilettante 8/18/15, 10:52 AM  

I like the setting and the questions about memory.I'd love to read this one.

Linda 8/18/15, 11:14 AM  

Sounds fascinating. Enjoy!

grammajudyb 8/18/15, 11:21 AM  

I'll be anxious to hear what you think after reading the book, BethF. It is an intriguing premise. Our son says, "There are 3 sides to every story, yours, mine and the truth."

Vicki 8/18/15, 11:45 AM  

It's funny how people have different memories of the same event. Sounds like a good book!

Margot 8/18/15, 12:34 PM  

The intro didn't grab me, but you write-up did. This sounds like a book I'd enjoy. It's been a long time since I read anything set in Spain.

Monica's Bookish Life 8/18/15, 1:28 PM  

I'm not sure about this intro. I'd read a little more to decide, though.

Tribute Books Mama 8/18/15, 3:37 PM  

Sounds intriguing.


http://tributebooksmama.blogspot.com/2015/08/teaser-tuesday_18.html

Cleo Bannister 8/19/15, 12:31 AM  

Ooh this is right up my street - I am fascinated by memory and more specifically how what we recall can be different from other's present at the same event. Thanks for visiting my Tuesday post earlier.

Sharons Book Nook! 8/19/15, 10:27 PM  

It is interesting how people remember the same event differently.
Thanks for sharing.

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