Intricately woven. Complex. Del Árbol's first novel translated into English is a rich skein of a thriller that had me hooked from the start. Who are these people? How are they related? Are they related? Are they who they seem to be? My questions swam from chapter to chapter as my admiration grew for Del Árbol and his ability to track the fates of so many characters. There are over a dozen; but who's counting? I am, because even though this is María Bengoachea's story, each character contributes important plot points.
Spanning over forty years and three generations, the narrative rolls a meandering course. Like life itself, the story is far from linear. The only thing that follows a direct path is culpability. It is a key theme that spans all the story arcs as people are murdered, abandoned, abused, lied to, kidnapped, cheated on and plotted against. Oh yes....
Beyond the Book
Victor del Árbol's The Sadness of the Samurai
begins in pro-Nazi Spain and takes place over three generations - the perfect political backdrop for the violence, betrayal, mystery and murder that takes place in the novel. Every nation struggles with its own demons, and 20th century Spain was no exception - experiencing civil war, dictatorial leaders, worker unrest, nascent democracy, and in 1981, a coup d'état that threatened to topple the newly formed democratic government.
After ruling Spain for nearly four decades, dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975. His appointed heir, Prince Juan Carlos de Borbón took over as King and lost little time restructuring Spain's government into a constitutional monarchy with a democratically elected congress, called the...