Originally published in Spain as Patria, this novel reckons with the decades-long plague of Basque terrorism begun during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco in 1959—by the separatist group known as ETA—and rekindles a debate about truth and reconciliation.
A Basque-born novelist now living in Germany, Aramburu unfolds the consequences of the Basque insurgency while asking us to ponder larger issues of violence, friendship, and moral choice ... Punch-in-the-face powerful with a bittersweet ending; this leading Spanish novelist's first English-language outing is a masterpiece.
In his new novel, Homeland, Fernando Aramburu—a celebrated and supremely talented Spanish writer who lives in Germany—conjures a grim and claustrophobic image of the years when ETA held sway in the northern region known as 'el Pais Vasco,' the Basque Country ... complex and challenging ... Keeping straight all the names and central relationships—as well as a galaxy of supporting characters—can be a difficult task made more challenging by Aramburu’s sometimes maddeningly nonlinear storytelling style. I found myself having to reread several early chapters, and finally succumbed to building a chart of the dramatis personae ... Homeland is no beach read. But once I caught the rhythm, I came to think of it as exhibiting a kind of sophisticated tidal pattern, with each ebb and flow...leaving behind new clues in the sand.
Fernando Aramburu’s gift lies in the links between action and reaction ... while the book overflows with tight, cinematic scenes, it remains static, almost dull. It reads like a long catalog of victimhood, sparing none of its characters. Glimpses into the origins of their friendships, or the nature of their filial piety or their love, are few and far between ... Homeland oscillates between a telenovela without intrigue and Dostoyevsky without moral inquiry ... the lackluster prose, while much clumsier and more confusing than the original Spanish, suits the desultory social landscape it describes ... Homeland is indeed less interesting than it could have been with more balance and more motion in any direction.