"A bold, stunning book...The reader is drawn in not because we want to find out what happened, but why it happened..."--NPR
A psychologically twisting novel about a politically-charged act of violence that echoes through a small Spanish town; a debut novel that the New York Times Book Review calls "a triumph."
It's 2004 in Muriga, a quiet town in Spain's northern Basque Country, a place with more secrets than inhabitants. Five years have passed since the kidnapping and murder of a young local politician-a family man and father-and the town's rhythms have almost returned to normal. But in the aftermath of the Atocha train bombings in Madrid, an act of terrorism that rocked a nation and a world, the townspeople want a reckoning of Muriga's own troubled past: Everyone knows who pulled the trigger five years ago, but is the young man now behind bars the only one to blame? All That Followed peels away the layers of a crime complicated by history, love, and betrayal. The accounts of three townspeople in particular-the councilman's beautiful young widow, the teenage radical now in jail for the crime, and an aging American teacher hiding a traumatic past of his own-hold the key to what really happened. And for these three, it's finally time to confront what they can find of the truth.
Inspired by a true story, All That Followed is a powerful, multifaceted novel about a nefarious kind of violence that can take hold when we least expect. Urgent, elegant, and gorgeously atmospheric, Urza's debut is a book for the world we live in now, and it marks the arrival of a brilliant new writer to watch.
Set in the foothills of the Pyrenees, Urza's debut novel is as subtle and enveloping as the txirimiri, a Basque word for "rain so fine that an umbrella is useless against it." The village of Muriga, a Basque stronghold dominated by a "looming fortress" that was once the site of a massacre during the Spanish Civil War, is picturesque and sinister in equal measure. It is a town proud of its antifascist past but bedeviled by a strain of separatist extremism that leads several teenagers to murder a local politician. The novel is narrated by three townspeople, each providing a first-person account that cautiously circles the political crime in increasingly tight orbits: Joni, a transplanted American teacher of English, who, despite having lived in Muriga for half a century, is still considered a stranger; Mariana, the widow of the slain politician who is convinced that the ghost of her kidney donor, a young terrorist killed by the police, is haunting her; and Iker, a student of Joni's and one of the perpetrators of the attack. Deceptions and past tragedies come to light, but most remarkable is how Urza thematically handles the violence lurking in an insular community. Be it a Basque town with its own language and history, a transplanted organ, or a nonnative inhabitant, everything in this tense novel revolves around the notion of an ineradicable foreignness that inexorably leads to bad blood.