Elizabeth Macklin

Bilbao–New York–Bilbao, by Kirmen Uribe


"This ingenious and original historiographical novel tells the story of its own writing, as Uribe explores the history of his family and the Basque Country fishing community of which they have long been a part. Framed by the author's plane journey to the States, the web of digressions is mapped by ever-lengthening and constantly entwining cultural tendrils as the family diffuses around the world, led off by his father's trawler. The intersection between truth and storytelling is a particularly potent theme, contrasting the prosaic and the poetic, the pragmatic and the romantic. It's a view from the inside of the novel, looking out upon the reader in consideration of what might prove engaging, a metafictional conceit made engaging by the genial candour of Uribe, or at least his novelistic avatar, as he explores the process of researching and honing his book.

"Huge credit must go to Wales-based indie Seren Books for bringing this book to English-language readers; it's extraordinary that this winner of Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Literatura wasn't picked up by a major publisher."
— Jonathan Ruppin, Foyles.co.uk

"... this is a novel about art, and what it means for an artist to draw on real life as source material....

"[Uribe's] solution, as he tells us, was to include the making of his novel in the text itself — the process of research, the interviews and correspondence. It’s here that Macklin’s translation really shines, giving Uribe’s novel in English that feeling of being woven together from strands of found documents, reported anecdotes, experience, and imagination."—David Hebblethwaite.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •



Page 1 of the book, in a 3-minute film by Arkaitz Basterra; 2009. (Casting: Uribe Urbieta and Arrieta families.)

Selected Works

Translations
A translation from the Basque, published by Seren Books in 2014
A translation from the Basque, published by Graywolf Press in 2007
Poems
"These [are] poems of abrupt perception and rigorous lyricism." —New York Times Book Review.
"[Her] city is surely the world, and the posture of kneeling surely implies reverence.." —Mary Oliver.
Several essays
A wander through Europe's oldest language, via a number of its latest speakers—poets, singers, writers, musicians—and bits of other phenomena.