The Accordionist's Son by Bernardo Atxaga (Translated by Margaret Jull Costa) - review by Daniel Igra

Daniel Igra

Words in the Earth

The Accordionist's Son


Harvill Secker 389pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Bernardo Atxaga hasn't taken kindly to being labelled a Basque writer. His stories, he argues, hold universal appeal. And he has a point, given that they've been translated into over twenty languages. But while his novels are eminently exportable, they are also recognisably Basque, with their roots firmly grounded in the land, language and history of Atxaga's homeland.

Such is the case with The Accordionist's Son, published in 2003 but translated into English only this year. David Imaz, nearing fifty and in failing health, decides to write the story of his youth in the Basque village of Obaba in the 1960s. He recalls his friendships and first experiences

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