Homeland, by Fernando Aramburu, evokes the years when the Country Basque (Spain) was dominated by the terrorist group ETA with death threats and extortion.
Using as background a village of which the author does not say the name, but it could be any of those located in Guipúzcoa; an area where the independence sentiments beat more strongly, with more fury. The plot begins the day that the terrorist group announces the last cessation of arms. Bittori, whose husband was killed by ETA, decides to return to the village where her family was once happy, but it was also where her family’s nightmare began. From that moment past and present get fused, these to come and go because there is no one without another.
For the understanding of the Basque conflict, the author goes deep into the daily life of two families, which had an excellent friendship until a member of one of them, Txato, a shipping company owner and Bittori’s husband, received a letter from ETA demanding for money. He refuses to pay the so-called revolutionary tax, and since then everything begins to change. He and his family become the target of fanaticism. Even the Miren’s family that had been its best friends become strangers, its enemies because they do not consider them as a good abertzales (Basque patriots). Txato’s denial costs him his life.
To finish it should emphasize that this book is not about a political matter. Fernando Aramburu does not take part in a polemic about the rights and wrongs of the Basque conflict. He only focuses on the emotional and physical damages caused in the Basque society, without justifying the use of violence at any time. The author simply limits himself giving a human voice to all, victims and murderers.
Homeland by Fernando Aramburu
Translated by Alfred MacAdam
Published by Pantheon