Marks of Identity

Juan Goytisolo (Author) Gregory Rabassa (Translator)

Product Details

$13.95  $12.83
Dalkey Archive Press
Publish Date
January 01, 2007
6.11 X 1.04 X 8.93 inches | 1.19 pounds
BISAC Categories:

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Ne a Barcelone, en 1931, intellectuel engage, oppose au franquisme, Juan Goytisolo s'est tres tot exile a Paris. Aujourd'hui installe a Marrakech, il est devenu un critique implacable de la civilisation occidentale. Auteur d'une quinzaine de romans et de nombreux essais, il a recu, en 1985, le prix Europalia pour l'ensemble de son uvre, en 2002 le prix Octavio Paz, en 2004 le prix Juan Rulfo de litterature latino-americaine et caribeenne, et en novembre 2008 le prestigieux Prix national des Lettres espagnoles.Photo: Circulo de Lectores.
Gregory Rabassa (1922-2016) was the recipient of multiple prizes including a lifetime achievement award from the PEN American Center for contributions to Hispanic literature and a National Medal of Arts. He was the translator of One Hundred Years of Solitude, among other classic works.


The reissue of this 1969 translation of a Spanish tour-de-force should captivate those who prize the elegant lyricism and complexity of Latin American fiction. Eschewing political dogma, Goytisolo's ( Forbidden Territory )BIP theme--explored in styles ranging from stream-of-consciousness to those imitative of bureaucratic memoranda--is exile and expatriation. The hero returns from Paris to Goytisolo's native Barcelona after ten years' absence, confronting the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War and his ruptured relationship to Catholicism and machismo culture. Patience is required to navigate Goytisolo's often serpentine sentences, many of which consume several pages. But the prose, presented here in a luxuriant translation, attains hypnotic, incantatory powers. Its density is remarkably evocative: referring to one servant, for example, the narrator notes that she was ``less self-abnegating, however, his Aunt Mercedes would remind them, than that other legendary maid who after an existence of privation . . . left the entire amount of her savings to that scornful grandfather of his who had exploited her during her lifetime.''
This Spanish writer has converted the vague dis-ease with mouldering European youth of his earlier novels, into a sweet-sour, middle-aged perspective on the decay of passion in one life which is a product and soul of Spain. An expatriate in France, Alvaro contemplates his own family history and the ""Twenty-Five Years of Peace"" in the ""grim and sleepy country of thirty-odd million non-uniformed police."" Impelled by a mid-life restlessness to reconstruct and synthesize, Alvaro goes back over the useless gestures of his upper caste family, the abortions of his own childhood dedications, to the years of the Revolution--the murder of his father and the murder of an uncle caught with his gourmet hoard of little frogs. He records on film the savage slaughter of a bull while remembering the massacre of republican peasants. The drama is ""obsessive and remote."" The trial of a fellow student and a demonstration that failed are matters of cafe conversation in France, where the strength of recently arrived young compatriots drains into dialectic and discussion. Because of ""Family, social class, community, land,"" life could not be anything but ""breaking and dispossession."" At the close, in a visit to Spain, Alvaro on the site of the death of the Revolution, intones, ""blessed be my deviation"" from feverish and ancient ties. Goytisolo tends to overstate with fragmented documentary footage at times, but as a solitary expatriate search, this is a somber and corrosive pilgrimage.