Bernardo Atxaga

Two Brothers
  • Two Brothers

  • An elegiac tale of lost innocence and the ruthlessness of the natural world, where the hunter all too soon becomes the prey. As he dies leaving his two boys orphans, Paulo's father lays on him the duty to look after his retarded but overgrown younger brother, for otherwise Daniel will be put away in an institution. But Daniel never listens to his brother, who is unable to exert any authority over him. Instead Daniel, aged twenty and still in the throes of puberty, goes off in an inept, fumbling pursuit of the village girls, as they ride past on their bicycles on the way to sewing lessons or cake-baking classes. Among these girls are pretty Teresa and her plain friend, Carmen, a girl disfigured by a birthmark on one cheek. Both of them are sweet on Paulo, the quiet, irresolute but handsome lad who works in the family sawmill, while Teresa is the reluctant, indeed disgusted, object of Daniel's dreams. Each girl schemes to cut the other out and win favour with Paulo. All ends in tears. And the narrators of this story, who take turns to continue the tale, are creatures of the wild, driven by their inner voices - a bird, squirrels, a black snake.

Bernardo Atxaga was born in Gipuzkoa in Spain in 1951 and lives in the Basque Country, writing in Basque and Spanish. He is a prizewinning novelist and poet, whose books, including Obabakoak and Seven Houses in France, have won critical acclaim in Spain and abroad. His works have been translated into twenty-two languages. Margaret Jull Costa has been a literary translator from Spanish and Portugese for over twenty years, translating such writers as José Saramago, Eça de Queiroz, Luis Fernando Verissimo and Fernando Pessoa. Her work has brought her a number of prizes, the most recent of which was the 2010 Premio Valle-Inclán for Javier Marías’ Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell.