cover image Carajicomedia


Juan Goytisolo. Editorial Seix Barral, $26.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-84-322-1056-3

Written by the acclaimed author of Las semanas del jardin: Un circulo de lectores (The Garden of Secrets, Alfaguara, 1997), this controversial and best-selling Spanish novel is a Swiftian satire on the Roman Catholic Church and its powerful secret society, Opus Dei. When the original Carajicomedia was published nearly 500 years ago, literary critics called it an extravagant parody, obscene, and even blasphemous. Here, Spain's most sardonic fiction writer and social critic, who was an expatriate in Morroco during the Franco era, updates the original tale. In this new interpretation, Per de Trennes, a 16th-century Spanish ecclesiastic, transplanted to the year 2000, continues to promulgate his opinions. The scene switches constantly, showing distinct human relations, which is sometimes confusing but always entertaining. In this parody of our times, humor and cynicism are omnipresent but unexaggerated, and nobody escapes Goytisolo's mordant wit. The narrative switches frequently among Spanish, French, English, and even Latin (the author is polylingual, which poses a challenge to monolingual readers). Goytisolo has been hailed by Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes, who calls him ""the greatest living Spanish novelist."" This new work is especially suitable for academic libraries and would also find a place in large public libraries and the contemporary literature sections of bookstores. Nelly S. Gonz lez, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign