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"Obaba" among the 100 most important fictional worlds in history.

2016-09-22  ¦  Publications

Literary Wonderlands, about to be released by Black Dog & Leventhal, is a collection of the 100 greatest fictional universes in world literature. Among them is the fictional world of Obaba, created by Bernardo Atxaga.

Literary Wonderlands: A Journey Through the Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, New York, 2016) is the title of the collection put together under the guidance of general editor Laura Miller. The book stands out for the rigor and care taken by the contributors and editors in presenting the greatest fictional worlds in the history of literature.

The nearly 100 works chosen from the history of literature include classic works that readers will know well, such as The Odyssey, Don Quixote, Alice in Wonderland, Gulliver's Travels, The Lord of the Rings, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Pedro Páramo, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Among these masterpieces is Atxaga’s novel Obabakoak (1988) and the imaginary world of Obaba created by the Basque writer.

The book’s cover and table of contents can be viewed in this PDF, as well as the entry dedicated to Obaba. Following is an excerpt from the book and a description of the book and its editor:

Obabakoak (1988)
A collection of interrelated stories about life and the stories people tell, including that of the narrator's childhoood in an imaginary Basque-speaking town, featuring a whirlwind of sleuthing, storytelling, and dialogue about literature and myth-making in "big" and "small" cultures.
The map of Atxaga's creative interior, his inner-life, shows an author who jumps over frontiers between literature and orality, Basque and non-Basque, different audiences and aesthetics -- pre-, post-, and modern.

"Literary Wonderlands" (Miller, 2016)
Literary Wonderlands is a thoroughly researched, wonderfully written, and beautifully produced book that spans two thousand years of creative endeavor. From Spenser's The Fairie Queene to Wells's The Time Machine to Murakami's 1Q84 it explores the timeless and captivating features of fiction's imagined worlds including the relevance of the writer's own life to the creation of the story, influential contemporary events and philosophies, and the meaning that can be extracted from the details of the work. Each piece includes a detailed overview of the plot and a "Dramatis Personae." Literary Wonderlands is a fascinating read for lovers of literature, fantasy, and science fiction.

Laura Miller is the book's general editor. Co-founder of Salon.com, where she worked as an editor and writer for 20 years, she is currently a books and culture columnist at Slate. A journalist and a critic, her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, the Guardian, and the New York Times Book Review, where she wrote the "Last Word" column for two years. She is the author of The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia and editor of the Salon.com Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors.