Synopses & Reviews
For forty-five years, the expatriate Juan Goytisolo has been widely acknowledged as both Spain's greatest living writer and its most scabrous critic. In some thirty books of fiction, autobiography, essays and journalism, he has turned the Spanish language against what he derides as 'Sunnyspain', flaying the 'Hispanos' while excavating their culture's Moorish and Jewish roots.
This, his masterful two-volume autobiography first published in the mid-1980s, broke new ground in Spanish letters with its introspective sexual and emotional honesty. It charts the writer's unique journey from a Barcelona childhood violently disrupted by the Spanish civil war to student rebellion against the Francoist dictatorship and exile as a 'self-banished Spaniard' to Paris in 1956.
In Paris, Goytisolo fell in love with Monique Lange, befriended Jean Genet, and discovered his own homosexuality as he supported the struggles for Algerian independence. His passionate, iconoclastic pen spares no one, least of all himself, in this striking portrayal of politics and sexuality in twentieth-century France and Spain.
"This is the second installment to Goytisolo's memoirs (the first, Forbidden Territory, was reviewed in these pages [vol. 66, pp. 542—46]). The dates in the subtitle are 1957—1982, but the book focuses on the 1960's, when the author underwent his most profound changes, both as a writer and as a man. He recounts his life in exile in Paris, his alienation from his native country, his friendships with Semprún, Sartre, and Genet, his inexorable disillusionment with the totalitarian left ('I prefer making my own mistakes to following the right slogan'), and his struggle to write. His books, strictly banned in Spain, were published instead in Paris, Mexico, and Buenos Aires. He travels to Cuba and the USSR before landing permanently in Moroco, where he unleashes his new voice and admits completely and joyfully to his homosexuality. This book is harshly self-critical,
painful to read, and superbly crafted. Goytisolo builds up to the creation of his masterpiece, Count Julian (1971), a dazzling outpouring of words and hatred, shame and rejection of Franco's Spain." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
A note of total frankness. (Edmund White)
"… a frank and solitary writer on a crusade for truth. He’s pugnaciously honest about his personal life, which is not easy in Spain.… He’s an outsider … his own man.
" Guillermo Cabrera Infante
"Goytisolo made sacrifices for both his literature and his politics. In a culture that now is evolved and permissive, but was then full of macho uptightness, his autobiography brought a note of total frankness.
" Edmund White
"Goytisolo writes like no-one else, except maybe Genet.
" Neil Bartlett
… a frank and solitary writer on a crusade for truth. He’s pugnaciously honest about his personal life, which is not easy in Spain.… He’s an outsider … his own man.
This masterful two-volume autobiography first published in the mid-1980s, broke new ground in Spanish letters with its introspective sexual and emotional honesty.
For 45 years the expatriate Goytisolo has been both widely acknowledged as Spain's greatest living writer and its most scabrous critic. This two-volume autobiography, first published in the 1980s, broke new ground in Spanish letters with its introspective sexual and emotional honesty.
About the Author
Born in 1931, Juan Goytisolo went into voluntary exile in 1956 and has never returned to live in Spain. A bitter opponent of the Franco regime, his early novels were banned in his native country. He divided his time between Paris and Marrakesh until the death of his wife, Monique Lange, at which time he moved permanently to Marrakesh.Peter Bush has translated nine books by Juan Goytisolo, including Exiled from Almost Everywhere and Juan the Landless, as well as novels by other prominent Spanish and Latin American writers.