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The Wrong Blood by Manuel de Lope
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The Wrong Blood

by Manuel de Lope

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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Leisurely – verging on lethargy – but never quite tipping the scale between sluggishness and unhurried appreciation for the roses (of which, the author is careful to note, there is an astounding variety in Basque).

Full review on The Stanford Daily website
  Aethyr | Apr 3, 2013 |
It was my great pleasure to work on this stunning book. The key is to surrender to the prose, wade into the descriptions, and let the story unfold in its slow, magnificent way. ( )
  KatieANYC | Apr 2, 2013 |
My blog post about this book is at this link. ( )
  SuziQoregon | Mar 31, 2013 |
didn't read - could not get into it
  bonnieconnelly | Jan 11, 2011 |
The Wrong Blood is one of those novels I really wanted to love but left me feeling flat. Several days after finishing the story, I am not quite certain what Mr. de Lope was trying to accomplish. Was he trying to tell a story about the impact of the Civil War or was it more a study of humankind and their reactions to adverse conditions? I suspect the answer is both things, but the fact that I am not 100 percent certain about it leads me to conclude that he was not successful with whatever he was attempting.

The narrator is obviously a man, and unfortunately, this is not a novel where a male author writes female characters that are true to life. Considering that the story revolves around María and her struggles, this is a glaring conflict. This is particularly true of the rape scene, which avoids any discussion of the emotional trauma and approaches the entire scenario rather clinically and coldly. Throughout the novel, María is never truly fleshed out as a woman but remains this chilly, miserly one-dimensional character who is more concerned about counting place settings than about others' feelings. I suspect that in the right hands, María could truly have come to life, which would have made the flashbacks and other parts of the story come to life as well.

Considering how much of the novel revolves around the characters, Dr. Cortez and the grandson Goitia, Isabel and María, the fact that they remain stilted and lacking in emotional connection does nothing to recommend the story. The big reveal is quite predictable, and the entire story plays out as one expects. A character-driven novel only works when readers are able to take a vested interest in the characters. Unfortunately, the reader is not able to connect with any of the characters in this fashion.

The Wrong Blood redeems itself via its descriptions of the Basque countryside. Lyrical in their sweeping grandeur and beauty, this is where Mr. de Lope shines. The reader truly gets a sense of what the Civil War did to the inhabitants of the area, how confusing and treacherous it was for all involved and the scars it left on both people and locations.

As this is Mr. de Lope's first novel translated into English, one cannot help but wonder how much is quite literally lost in translation. Then again, because the physical descriptions are so excellent, this leads one to conclude that very little is actually lost. Therefore, is this an instance of an author who is better able to provide poetic descriptions of places but cannot do the same for people? Without reading Mr. de Lope's other works, one may never know. I do know that The Wrong Blood has moments of brilliance but a large majority of the novel fails to spark. The result is a novel that does not live up to its own expectations.
  jmchshannon | Jan 1, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Manuel de Lopeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cullen, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lope, Manuel dePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Will He... Fill the void veins of Life again with youth? (Wilfred Owen, War Poems).
Dedication
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IT WAS THE MONTH OF MAY, or the month of June, in any case summer was near, and within only a few weeks the war would break out, although nobody knew this at the time, and those who had premonitions couldn't go so far as to believe them, because fear rejects what the intuition accepts, and they wouldn't have been able to convince anybody anyway.
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Book description
On the cusp of the Spanish Civil War in a coastal village in the Basque country, three men stop off at Extarri's bar on their way to a wedding. There, a bizarre and seemingly incidental event marks the beginning of a powerful story about a bond and a secret that endures even in death.

Abandoned by her parents shortly after the outbreak of war, sixteen-year-old María Antonia Extarri is left at the mercy of the soldiers. Meanwhile, Isabel enjoys a blissful honeymoon, but just a few months later her valiant Captain is shot as a traitor. Both María and Isabel suddenly find themselves violently altered, alone, and pregnant. A crippled young doctor is the only witness to the mysterious agreement silently formed between the two desperate women.
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In the days before the Civil War, two women in the Basque Country in northern Spain conspire to commit a victimless crime.

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