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Nevada Days is a fictionalised account of Atxaga’s nine months’ stay as writer-in-residence at the Centre for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada. He is accompanied by his wife, Ángela, who is also doing research there, and by their two daughters. During their first few weeks, the family encounter a strange mapache (racoon), which is always staring at them from the garden, a flight of helicopters immediately overhead, a black widow spider, a warning about bears, a party of prisoners in the desert, a lake that is somehow far too calm and too blue, and, not long into their stay, the kidnap and murder of a young girl living in the house right next door.
Atxaga tells us about all these strange encounters, and about his colleagues at the university, about the trips the family make to California and across the Sierra Nevada and to Lake Tahoe, but this narrative is also interspersed with accounts of his dreams, with stories from his past.
Nevada Days seductively weaves together past and present, and shows us how deeply marked we are by experience and history and relationships, however fleeting or enduring, and reminds us what a very strange thing life is.
Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa
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