all that followed urza

All That Followed by Gabriel Urza

All That Followed by Gabriel UrzaAll That Followed by Gabriel Urza
Published by Henry Holt and Company on August 4th 2015
Source: Publisher
Pages: 272
Buy from IndieBound

 

When terrorists attack trains traveling through Madrid in 2004, the small Basque town of Muriga is reminded of its own brush with extreme politics. Five years earlier, the politically motivated murder of a rising councilman was easily solved, but the people of Muriga can’t help but feel underlying blame. All That Followed flashes back from the attack in 2004 to explore the months leading up to the councilman’s assassination through the memories of three residents of Muriga.

The story is told by Joni, the aging American teacher; Mariana, the wife of the murdered man; and Iker, who is serving time in prison for the murder. Flashing back and forth in time, from the present to Joni’s beginnings in Muriga after World War II, the novel begins to piece together a story based on different perceptions. At one point, Mariana explains that there are two different types of infidelity: clear, identifiable instances and more subtle, questionable acts. We  can see this as a reflection of the book itself, as the narratives serve to shed light on those directly involved in the councilman’s death as well as those who simply allowed it to occur.

The novel’s structure creates a tension that suggests the pieces of past and present will fit together in a revealing or shocking way, but unfortunately never do. Perhaps a feeling of anticipation was my mistake as a reader—as the book clearly lays out the ending in its first pages—and I think others may enjoy it more by understanding this from the start. Though it’s steeped in tension, All That Followed is aimed less at thrills and more at thought; the understanding that comes from examining an event from all sides.

 

  • I’m keen to read this one, though your comment that it is more about thoughts than thrills gives me pause. I’ve been reading too many books lately that veer to thoughtful. Right now I just want a good ole page turner!

    • It actually reads really fast and keeps the pages turning, so if you go in with the understanding that there won’t be a huge reveal you’ll probably enjoy it.

  • Frustrating when a book is so suspenseful and then ends up falling flat! The premise of this sounded really interesting to me and I had it on my radar, but you and someone else (I’m forgetting now who) both felt it didn’t quite come together, so I’ll probably skip it.

    • I think it could be read several ways, and I just expected it to be different than what it was. The writing is really beautiful and it’s a good look at a culture that I didn’t know much about, so I’d still recommend it…but just with adjusted expectations.

  • Diane D

    I love the cover and the overview when I added this to my wish list. I’m happy I caught this review and your suggestions about what to expect. I’ll still try it.

  • Nothing more frustrating than being teased about a big, shocking reveal and then being let down. I think you’re right that we as readers sometimes assign unfair expectations to a book from the get-go (though certainly an author can encourage them!), and this is a good reminder to try and go into new books with an open mind.

    • Yeah, it definitely wan’t a bad book by any means, but the structure definitely made me feel like I was going to come out learning more than I did…so it was somewhat lacking in the end for me.

  • You found a way to capture what I think my issue(s) with the book are as well…. I just couldn’t find the words. I certainly think it’s still worth reading if the premise is intriguing, but yes, with managed expectations.

    • I think I might have read the book completely different if I knew going in that it was more of a character study than a piecing together of the story. I loved quite a bit of the writing, so I think it could have been a much better experience.

  • I remember thinking that this might be a great selection; I’m definitely interested in it, and even more so after your review and recommendation for reading from a certain perspective. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Shannon; could be a possible read for later on. Right now, I’m dying to finish The Beautiful Bureaucrat; I can’t put it down!

  • Hm. Okay. This sounds like the kind of story I like — as you know I don’t mind having all the information about the events right at the outset — and hopefully if I go in with the right expectation, I’ll avoid being disappointed by a lack of surprises.

  • I was wondering about this novel. Thanks for the review

  • I think I might find this a slightly disappointing read. I love books with multiple perspectives and/or flashbacks, but I do like my stories neat. I think I’d be let down by the fact that everything didn’t come together a nice way here.

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