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The Lone Man Hardcover – December, 1996

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins (December 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860461352
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860461354
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,700,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Carlos, the protagonist of Bernardo Atxaga's novel The Lone Man, thought he had left behind his old life as an activist in ETA, the Basque Independence Movement, when he went straight and bought a hotel in Barcelona. Then, as one last favor to the movement, he agrees to harbor two terrorists on the lam. This gesture plunges him back into a familiar yet perilous world of playing cat-and-mouse with terrorists and police. Set during the 1982 World Cup championship, The Lone Man follows Carlos's attempts to smuggle his charges out of the country as it simultaneously delves into his memories of past actions. Part crime story, part psychological thriller, The Lone Man maps out a landscape of fear and the paralyzing effects of unresolved guilt.

From Publishers Weekly

The passions that fire the Basque independence movement are smothered beneath a thick blanket of political ideology in this 1994 tale of one man's efforts to come to terms with his revolutionary past through a final act of heroism. It is 1982, and while most of Spain's attention is focused on the World Cup soccer tournament being played in Barcelona Carlos, a Basque separatist turned hotelier, is hiding two members of the movement in his nearby establishment. The situation is complicated by the presence of a suspicious police force assigned to protect the Polish soccer team staying at the hotel, and by Carlos's ambivalence about his risky actions. Is his complicity a noble demonstration of his unquenchable revolutionary fervor, or a foolhardy gamble to alleviate the ennui he feels in his suddenly normal life? Atxaga (Obabakoak) strives to write the sort of personalized political thriller mastered by Graham Greene and Robert Stone, but he fails to create characters whose personal struggles give the issues at hand a human dimension. Carlos's mind is a sounding board for the incessant voices of his institutionalized brother, Kropotky, his guerrilla mentor, Sabino, and a cynical conscience he dubs "the Rat." But he is so estranged from his own emotions that he remains a cipher. Novels of such intense political conviction are rare, yet this one reads more like a textbook analysis of a revolution than a heartfelt account of one who fought in it.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book starts quite slowly and during the first half I wondered if it was going anywhere, but I stuck with it and was rewarded with an exciting second half. Most of the action takes place not on the football field but in Carlos's extraordinary head: it is inhabited by his paranoias, lusts, dreams and memories of his homeland ...and by a series of loud voices alternately mocking, warning and advising him. These battles in his head are intense, compelling and convincing - they are the book's greatest strength. The book's other arena, the one outside the protagonist's head is also small - a few acres in and around a hotel - everything is tight, tense and claustrophobic. Although football is only a backdrop, anybody who loves the game will enjoy the way the author integrates the Polish team and the 1982 World Cup into his narrative. One may stop to wonder about a sympathetic central character who is a vain, womanising terrorist, kidnapper and murderer, but Atxaga is - like Greene and Dostoevsky - clever enough to make us side with his villain in the psychological battle with the chief police officer. Because the author made me care about Carlos, I found the last 50 pages very tense and the book hard to put down.
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By Cem on December 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
This marvellous story about a former terrorist in ETA (The nationalist organistation, who are fighting for independence).
Carlos has bought a hotel with his friends from the organisation with the money from a robbery! They have been let out because of general amnesty! The place is Barcelona in a hot summer in 1982, where there's World championships in soccer. The Polish team is living in the hotel, where they are protected by policemen, and journalists who're undercover! He does a last thing for ETA by hiding Jone and Jone (Like Bonnie and Clyde) in the backery, where he works! He's disturbed by his consciences, which are his former mentor in ETA, his ill brother, Kropotky (nickname for a russian revolutionary) and the bad one "The Rat". This psychological, magic realism, exciting, thrilling, dramatic and not least exceptionel story about a man, who can't escape from his past! Really must do..
I'm currently writing a project of this book, so if there anyone, who like to ask or comment, they're more than likely to write to me!
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Format: Hardcover
This novel takes the form of a thriller but it is really a psychological portrait of the main protagonist, "Carlos", who is alienated from his revolutionary past and also from those around him because of his revolutionary past. Set outside Barcelona during the 1982 World Cup, in the Polish team's hotel, the drama centres on Carlos's attempt to free two ETA fugitives who the organization has persuaded him to hide before the police (disguised as a TV crew) find their bolt-hole. But this is really just a backdrop for Carlos's interrogation of his revolutionary past via his memories of his long-dead ETA mentor, his mad brother and his own cynical bad conscience. This novel brims with ideas (there is an interesting sub-theme about vanity and the importance of ornamentation and decoration to people). A prolonged meditation on how experience and (lost) committment can isolate and distance a person from others.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
A taut thriller set during Spain's hosting of the 1982 World Cup. Former ETA Basque terrorists own a hotel outside Barcelona where the Polish team is staying. One of them, Carlos, has allowed two fugitive terrorists to hide out on the grounds without telling his compatriots. The tension gradually mounts as the police close in, others at the hotel find out, and relationships get tangled and tense until the stunning denouement. What raises the book above the level your average thriller is the author's brilliance at getting inside Carlos's head to illuminate his ambivalence about his former activities and current allegiances, as well as his relationships to his dead mentor and mad brother. Gripping book, would make a very interesting film in the right hands.
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