Seven Houses in France, By Bernardo Atxaga

 

Originally written in Euskera, the language of the Basques, Atxaga's sixth novel had to be translated twice, first into Spanish (with the help of his wife), and then into English (by the capable Margaret Jull Costa).

Thankfully none of the warmth of the author's voice has been lost along the way. Set in Congo at the turn of the last century, the novel tells of a group of white officers confined to a remote jungle garrison.

More dangerous than attacks by snakes, monkeys or armed insurgents are the self-serving men themselves. Atxaga's grim and complicated story is lucidly told.

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