⭐ We have a different website for our Ohio bookstore + cafe! Visit it here. ⭐

What We Tried to Bury Grows Here (FORTHCOMING)

a novel by
Julian Zabalbeascoa

Preorder this title now!

$ 27.00 
Hover here for an Ebook message. Our ebooks are ".epub" file type. Please use our contact form for any questions.



This book will be released on November 12, 2024.

What We Tried to Bury Grows Here, a novel by Julian Zabalbeascoa (Two Dollar Radio, 2024)

A masterly crafted and haunting tale of survival, longing, and empathy, set during the Spanish Civil War.

In late 1936, eighteen-year-old Isidro Elejalde leaves his Basque village in Northern Spain, spurred to join the fight to preserve his country’s democracy from the insurrectionists by the rousing words of a political essayist. Months earlier, Spanish generals launched a military coup to overthrow Spain’s newly elected left-wing government. They assumed the population would welcome the coup, but throughout the country people like Isidro remained loyal to the ideals of democracy, and the Spanish Civil War began in bloody earnest.

In Bilbao, Mariana raises her two young children while, with her writing, she decries the fascist-backed coup attempt and their German and Italian allies, imploring the world to support democracy. As the Nationalist forces assault the country, Mariana and Isidro’s lives intersect fleetingly, yet in meaningful and lasting ways.

Through a chorus of voices—a female soldier in an all-male battalion, a reluctant conscript recently emigrated from Cuba, a young girl whose parents have abandoned her in order to fight against the fascists, among others—we follow Isidro and Mariana as they struggle to maintain their humanity in a country determined to tear itself apart.

Julian Zabalbeascoa is a fierce and assured new talent, and What We Tried to Bury Grows Here is a remarkable feat of research and imagination, as well as a transcendent literary accomplishment.


“A stunning first novel, ambitious, intensely true, certain to be read for a long time. Zabalbeascoa is a phenomenon."
—Philipp Meyer, author of The Son and American Rust

What We Tried to Bury Grows Here is a startling book, beautiful and horrific, that navigates the complexities of Basque Country during the Spanish Civil War, in which fascism and communism, regionalism and nationalism, and faith and skepticism do battle across a brilliantly evoked, suffering landscape."
—Phil Klay, National Book Award winning author of Redeployment and Missionaries

“In the tradition of such master story tellers as Isaac Babel and Phil Klay, Julian Zabalbeascoa has written a piercing narrative set during the Spanish Civil War. Alive with wonderful characters, moments of dread, bathos and humour, What We Tried to Bury Grows Here illuminates a crucial period of history. This is a timely and absorbing novel.”
—Margot Livesey, author of The Boy in the Field, Mercury, and The Flight of Gemma Hardy

“Julian Zabalbeascoa is the real deal, a major talent, and the story he’s telling here is both riveting and terrifying.”
—Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Empire Falls

“The rise of authoritarian rule is never an abstraction, it is always horrifically concrete for those who experience it. But as each bloody injustice fades into history, we run the risk of losing what we have learned that may have the power to forestall yet another such assault on democracy, which is just one reason why Julian Zabalbeascoa’s timely and deeply moving novel should be required reading for us all. Written with spare, evocative, and hypnotic prose, Zabalbeascoa takes us deeply into the lives of men and women – many of them of the Basque minority - who fought Franco and his allies during the Spanish Civil War. This is an important and necessary work of art for our fraught times, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
—Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog, Gone So Long, and Townie: A Memoir


BOOK CLUB & READER GUIDE: Questions and Topics for Discussion

Click here to view and/or download the What We Tried to Bury Grows Here reader guide as a PDF.

[Link will be live in fall of 2024!]


Julian Zabalbeascoa, author of What We Tried to Bury Grows Here (Two Dollar Radio, 2024)

Julian Zabalbeascoa’s fiction has appeared in American Short Fiction, Electric Literature, The Gettysburg Review, Glimmer Train, One Story, and Ploughshares, among other journals. He divides his time between Boston and the Basque Country in Spain. What We Tried to Bury Grows Here is his first novel.

Visit the author page for Julian Zabalbeascoa.

Sneak Peek

Coming soon!


Cover design: Eric Obenauf.
Cover image: Courtesy of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.
Author photograph: Katie Sticca.

FORMAT: Hardcover Original (1st printing, paper-over-board)
PAGES: 320
PRINT ISBN: 9781953387530
DIGITAL ISBN: 9781953387547
PUB DATE: November 12, 2024
SIZE: 5.5" x 7.5"