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Seven Houses in France


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A dark tale of human ambition by the European master A.S. Byatt has termed 'A brilliantly inventive writer'

About the Author

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 The Accordionist's Son, have won critical acclaim in Spain and abroad. His works have been translated into twenty-five languages.


Seven Houses in France is an enjoyable, somewhat frightening novel by one of Europe's best novelists... Atxaga is still the master of a complex story, told with deceptive simplicity. -- Michael Eaude * Independent *
With his sixth novel, Basque writer Atxaga puts us squarely in Heart of Darkness territory, although his is a more blackly absurd version of the world than that of Joseph Conrad. Unsettling, often unpleasant, but undeniably compelling. -- Amber Pearson * Daily Mail *
Bizarrely funny and beautifully crafted...His gift for interesting, unusual syntax, his wonderful pacing and surprising, vibrant language give one the feeling of being in safe hands. -- Mira Mattar * Times Literary Supplement *
Atxaga tackles the excesses of colonialism with an assured touch; his humour is dark, the silenced voices of the natives are pointed, and his evocation of how reality becomes distorted when men are trapped in suffocating tedium is fascinatingly rigorous. * Metro *
A dark comedy about the vanity of human desires which deftly balances compassion and cynicism -- Adrian Turpin * Financial Times *

Acclaimed Basque fiction writer Atxaga has written a number of complex character studies (e.g., The Accordionist's Son; The Lone Woman) that portray individuals complicit with politically motivated violence, and here he returns to that powerful theme. This masterly, deeply unsettling novel takes as its subject one of the darkest chapters in human history-Belgian King Leopold II's cruel and pitiless exploitation of the Congo in the early 1900s. This is ground Joseph Conrad explored in The Heart of Darkness, and Atxaga is obviously revisiting that famous novel. The primary theme is the evil power of political ideology and how it can fuel violence and create conditions that lead to atrocities. The Belgian army officers at the center of this novel blithely assume an absolute cultural and moral superiority-a belief that enables them to enslave and exploit the native population remorselessly. There is a warning here for modern readers about the dangerous link between ideology and catastrophic violence. VERDICT Chilling and unforgettable; recommended for fans of literary fiction.-Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Comm. Coll., CT (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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