Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Interview with Juan Goytisolo

On a blazing blue afternoon last winter, I met the Spanish expatriate novelist Juan Goytisolo at an outdoor café in Marrakesh, Morocco. It was easy to spot the 75-year-old writer, sitting beneath an Arabic-language poster of himself taped to the café window.

He was reading El País, the Spanish newspaper to which he has contributed for decades. Olive-skinned, with a hawk nose and startlingly pale blue eyes, he had wrapped himself against the winter chill in a pullover, suede jacket, checked overcoat and two pairs of socks.

Considered by many to be Spain's greatest living writer, Goytisolo is in some ways an anachronistic figure in today's cultural landscape.

His ideas can seem deeply unfashionable. For him, writing is a political act, and it is the West, not the Islamic world, that is waging a crusade. He is a homosexual who finds gay identity politics unappealing and who lived for 40 years with a French woman he considers his only love.

You can find the interview here

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