Dave Boling’s Guernica is not a small book and yet its problem seems to be that the author is unable to give the novel space to breath.
It suffers terribly from telling – even précising – the story rather than allowing it to unfold. We know that the town is destined suffer terribly at the hands of the Luftwaffe, but Boling seems determined that we shall have no surprises at all along the way. For example, Picasso’s relationship with his muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter, is summarised in four short paragraphs: why read on?
While Boling seems to assume that his readers have read well on all of his historical characters, his fictional characters, like star of the show Justo Ansotegui, are drawn as cartoons. Justo is a mythological creature with superhuman strength. Who cares what happens to him?