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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.