after the collapse and dissolution of the Soviet Union, Spain's greatest novelist sat down and wrote his greatest novel.
Juan Goytisolo left Spain in 1956 in opposition to the regime of Generalissimo Franco, guaranteeing the banning of nearly all his works in his native land. "For decades, my name was more popular in police stations than bookshops, and I do not mean to compliment the literary awareness of Spanish policemen."
in Count Julian, reflecting a somewhat angry exile in Tangier, Goytisolo becomes the angry Moor once again defeating Catholic Spain, crushing beneath the hooves of his invading hoards everything that has been falsified in Spain, especially its berber heritage.
now, alone of his generation ! , standing, looking, as the statues fall across the eastern expanses of europe, trying to understand what the end of marxism really signifies. this second Moor, who has raised the specter of revolution in all the capitals of Europe, works each day at the Brit library on his books, wife Jenny (nee Baroness) faithfully transcribing them. what must this later Moor feel and think, watching the statues topple, the whole marxist enterprise liquidated and sold at auction?
accepting faithfully his investigation, our author visits the Marxs at their various abodes in London. he visits Bakunin for his take. meanwhile, this ragtag spanish anarchist or that displaced russian proletarian stops by the Marx house, the offices of our author's publisher or the set of the TV mocumentary being simultaneously filmed on the Marxs, just to help our author understand.
did Marx grease Stalin's skids? did history pass him by in 1872 without telling him? did the faithful Lenchen have and hide the Moor's baby out of devotion to the family and the cause of the world revolution?
these City Lights productions of Juan Goytisolo's novels are nicely done. I have their edition of A Cock-Eyed Comedy, Goytisolo's whimsical look at the "one-syllable monster," the Spanish Church and the tearooms of Paris. yum!
anyone who has ever loved or loathed Marxism should have a chuckle with this book, for which the author most assuredly deserves a much-delayed Nobel Prize.