Starting Over

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Blind Rider

"The book of his life lacked a plot: there were only fragments of pages, loose or ill-fitting pieces, outlines of a possible theme. The inconsistency of the drafts allowed for no closure or exemplary glow... He wanted to be beither role model nor statue. His attelpt to avoid any acceptable definition or morality responded to that wish. His writing left no traces: he wasn't the sum total of his books, but what was subtracted from them. Only the release contract was missing and that would be along soon."

Juan Goytisolo is a fascinating novelist. His earlier work is rich in density and anger but this, his latest, and claimed to be his last is a both shorter and more restrained affair. In this novel, the narrator, reviews his life in a fictional memoir of the last fisty odd years. It is an extended eulogy to loss - of his wife and the years of love they shared, of his mother, and of the hopes for a more utopian. perhaps more innocent, world. Goytisolo explores Tolstoy, grief, God, and the idea of home. With short beautifully written chapters he creates a work that is both tender and touching, and rages with anger against a perverse god who literally shat out the world.


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