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Mexican readers present Basque writer Anjel Lertxundi’s novel 'Los trapos sucios' in Guadalajara


Anjel Lertxundi with two of the readers at his book presentation (photo Etxepare)
Anjel Lertxundi with two of the readers at his book presentation (photo Etxepare)


Basque literature is making its mark this year at Guadalajara’s Book Fair in Mexico. Among the events that were striking was the presentation of the Spanish version of 'Etxeko Hautsa' (Los trapos sucios in Spanish, Dirty Laundry in English) in the Readers Present section. The author, Anjel Lertxundi, was also present but those who talked about the book were three of its Mexican readers. They explained that the book talked about “common feelings that affect all of us, irrespective of origin, or the language that it is written in,” and “it hooks the reader with a surprising ending.” They invited the public to delve into the work as well as Basque literature.

Guadalajara, Mexico.  Basque writers and publishers are carrying out various activities at Guadalajara’s Book Fair, striving to make Basque literature and its production known.  There were a dozen Basque publishers at the Basque stand presenting their catalogues along with writer Anjel Lertxundi  (Orio, 1948) with his Trapos sucios, translation of his work Etxeko Hautsa.  On Tuesday, during the Readers Present section, three young Mexican readers spoke about the book and encouraged the public to deepen its knowledge of Basque literature. 

Trapos Sucios is about a teenager that delves into the world of "political violence" of ETA, to, in the end, somehow become a victim of it. The protagonist decides to confess to his father, a former member of the Franco administration, now suffering from Alzheimer's. Also attending the event with Lertxundi were, Editor Jorge Gimenez and Mari Jose Olaziregi, Director of Basque promotion of the Etxepare Basque Institute. 

Politics was not left asside during the discussion and when he was asked why, in his view, ETA had announced a definitive cessation of violence, Lertxundi pointed out that from his point of view “police solutions rarely solve social problems.”  The writer attributed the end of the violence to “the society being fed up.”  “If society wouldn’t have mobilized, being fed up and saying ‘that’s enough already’ it would have been very difficult for it to end as it had,” he said. 

Fernando Aranburu, Tusquets Prize

Another Basque writer was also featured on Tuesday when the winner of the Tusquets prize was announced.  Fernando Aranburu (Donostia, 1959), was named the winner with his work Años Lentos (Slow Years).  Juan Marsé, president of the jury, was in charge of making the announcement.  Other members included: Almudena Grandes, Juan Gabriel Vasques, Rafael Reig and Beatriz de Moura.


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