Guernica by Dave Boling - Book Review

In 1989, I took my first art history class. Since that class one of my favorite art renderings has been Picasso’s Guernica. Though we studied the artistic symbolism and form, I’m ashamed to admit never having contemplated the depth of its subject. Who are Guernica’s dying people with arms raised to heaven?

Dave Boling gives me the answer in his debut novel of history, culture and the human capacity for love and resilience. The novel is full of historical facts and gives a human face to the absurdity of war, deftly juxtaposing the human capacities for love and hate.

Guernica imparts the sweeping saga of a proud and loving Basque family led by patriarch Justo, the oldest of three brothers, who, at fifteen, inherits the family farm. Justo marries and raises a beautiful daughter while all three brothers walk a path that will be affected by fascism’s rise. We, the readers, learn fascinating cultural facts of a great people and fall in love with Boling’s rich characters even as we feel the fascist tension rising, knowing our friends will soon be in danger.

In 1937, the Germans bombed Guernica, Spain in an effort to form allegiances with the like-minded Franco. Historians still contemplate the atrocity of the act, thought to be the first bombing of civilian targets. If you’ve got a spare moment, head over to the Wiki entry for Picasso’s masterpiece. Then go buy Guernica. It’s a story that needs to be told again and again until we get it right.

Buy Guernica Here

© 2007-2009


Katherine said...

I've heard good things about this book. It's great to see a review on it. The Picasso painting is one of my favorites.


Blog Archive