goytisolo interview

The Independent has an interview with Juan Goytisolo. I had no idea he’s been living in Marrakech these past few years. The article describes Goytisolo’s upbringing, his friendships with people like Jean Genet (who brought him to Tangier) and his years of exile from Spain. An excerpt:

Sexually explicit, a bitter denunciation of Francoist Spain, Marks of Identity was banned in his native country, like all his works until the dictator’s death. Later, in Count Julian (1970) and Juan the Landless (1975), he took his highly personal weave of autobiography and literary parody even further. “It’s impossible to understand Spanish literature, this neo-Latin language, without taking into account Arabic literary models. In Count Julian, I celebrate the homosexual traitor who sold his land to the Moors, and reclaim that Moorish heritage, buried for centuries.”
But to argue that Spanish identity begins not with the Reconquista and the Empire has wider implications. “How can Giscard d’Estaing seriously suggest that Europe is a Judaeo-Christian society?” Goytisolo asks. “I owe so much to the Parisian quarter of Sentier, a neighbourhood where over 40-odd years I saw successive waves of Jewish, Armenian, Turkish, Pakistani and African emigrants arriving. All I had to do was walk out of my door and see people from every continent, speaking every tongue.”

Independent link from Kitabkhana. Goytisolo links at Amazon.