Friday, February 8, 2013

Guernica Comes to Life

You may be familiar with the famous painting "Guernica" by Picasso which conveys the horror of the Spanish civil war. It shows the suffering and destruction of a town by bombing and has become a powerful reminder of the tragedies of war.  I never thought much about the town itself, just focusing on the work of art as an anti-war symbol.  When I saw the book A Thunderous Whisper by Christina Gonzalez, there was something about the cover that drew me in, the way book covers often can. Reading the back and the inside cover flap put this book on top of my pile: this was a time and place in history I wanted to know more about! The main characters, Ani and Matthias, are teens that inadvertently get pulled into the underground spy network.  Ani is not sure she believes in working for the greater good of her people, the Basques, but she is swept along by Matthias' enthusiasm and vision.  Sneaking a peek at secret messages hidden in baskets of sardines they deliver, the two teens suspect that a bombing raid is planned for their town.  Ani is not sure she can believe this.  As I read the story, I felt I was along for a  perilous ride, getting to know these appealing characters as they get to know each other during difficult times. This is a story about a serious subject, but it's told from the fresh point of view of a young girl and so it never drags you down.  This is the second book I've read by Christina Gonzalez, the first being her book, The Red Umbrella, based on her family's experience during the exodus of Cuba in the early 1960's.  The author has a gift for bringing an intimacy of a historical time and place with very appealing characters. Take a trip in time reading her books!

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