cover image Forbidden Territory: The Memoirs of Juan Goytisolo, 1931-1956

Forbidden Territory: The Memoirs of Juan Goytisolo, 1931-1956

Juan Goytisolo. North Point Press, $18.95 (235pp) ISBN 978-0-86547-337-9

Goytisolo's lyrical, relentlessly introspective autobiography is more accessible than the experimental novels ( The Revindication of Count Julian , Juan the Landless ) which have made him a preeminent Spanish writer. His Basque-Cuban family's melodramatic household was shattered by the Spanish Civil War; his mother's sudden death, his father's impracticality and postwar squalor and oppression set the stage for his political radicalization and self-exile to Paris. Even after his return to Spain, Goytisolo has remained an internal exile skeptical of bourgeois values. With candor, he writes here about his early sexual confusion, affairs with women and men; his exploration of slums, bars and brothels; his voracious reading of Gide, Hesse, Faulkner and Sartre; his moral outrage at being blacklisted in his own country. Interspersed with the narrative are italicized, rhapsodic sections that simultaneously look back and ironically flash forward to his public career. (Nov.)