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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

     

Exiled from Almost Everywhere

by
Juan Goytisolo


general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase Exiled from Almost Everywhere



Title: Exiled from Almost Everywhere
Author: Juan Goytisolo
Genre: Novel
Written: 2008 (Eng. 2011)
Length: 135 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: Exiled from Almost Everywhere - US
El exiliado de aquí y allá - US
Exiled from Almost Everywhere - UK
Exiled from Almost Everywhere - Canada
Exiled from Almost Everywhere - India
L'exilé d'ici et d'ailleurs - France
El exiliado de aquí y allá - España
  • Spanish title: El exiliado de aquí y allá
  • Translated by Peter Bush

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Our Assessment:

B : Goytisolo revisits old themes and characters in light of more modern times and technology

See our review for fuller assessment.




Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
El cultural . 4/9/2008 Ricardo Senabre
The Guardian A 14/5/2011 Alberto Manguel
El mundo . 11/9/2008 Álvaro Cortina


  From the Reviews:
  • "La multiplicación de comunicaciones y consignas contradictorias, el imposible diálogo entre culturas, la vigilancia constante a que viven sometidos inmigrantes, trasterrados, fugitivos y otros productos enajenados de la globalización, los tiranos indestructibles (“El Je-fe un-gi-do ja-más se-rá ven-ci-do”), las infinitas organizaciones terroristas que aparecen y reaparecen con otros nombres, los seres de identidades cambiantes atraviesan el espacio de la novela, incrustados en breves capítulos que oscilan entre el mensaje electrónico y la parodia feroz de ciertos discursos oficiales" - Ricardo Senabre, El cultural

  • "Exiled From Almost Everywhere is perhaps the best work of Goytisolo's later period. The author, who in his 20s, wrote realistic novels that described the vulgar horrors of Franco's Spain, from which he was exiled, later began to develop a freer, less traditional, more ironic and humorous voice. Nowhere is this style more accomplished than in this novel, beautifully translated into English by Peter Bush. (...) Under the appearance of a wicked romp, Exiled From Almost Everywhere is a profound work that demands close attention from its readers -- who, as the author confesses at the end, must remain bewildered by its Wonderland invention." - Alberto Manguel, The Guardian

  • "Corrosivo, alternativo, y de esforzada lectura esta finita novela del heterodoxo Goytisolo, donde ni los muertos son espirituales, donde morirse no significa trascender, ni conocer, ni descansar." - Álvaro Cortina, El mundo

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Exiled from Almost Everywhere is a sequel of sorts to Goytisolo's Landscapes after the Battle, revisiting characters and themes from the much earlier work. Like the previous novel, Exiled from Almost Everywhere is one where the "Babelic confusion" has taken hold -- but modern technology compounds the confusion. The recurring central character, the 'Monster of Le Sentier', even finds himself, after his death (by terrorist suicide bombing) in a cyberspace-hereafter, a 'virtual universe', providing access to and insight (if only of a certain kind) into Here- and There- and all sorts of presents and afters. Yes: "The ether encompasses everything" -- but it's also overwhelming.
       Goytisolo's novel is divided into short chapters, often merely one-page episodes that describe his sharply refracted -- through cyberspace and, it often seems, fun-house mirrors -- vision of the contemporary world, one of perversions both sexual and, especially, political. Goytisolo doesn't present straightforward narrative here -- emphatically not, at one point even reassuring: "Don't worry, dear reader. The narrative puzzle doesn't fizzle out here".
       Realism fails in portraying this world, Goytisolo suggests; even imagination falls short. What's left is a theatre of the absurd:

     Who'd gone more insane, the world or him ? Our scribbler isn't sure he can come up with the answer, and neither are we. Everything he'd fantasized about as time went by now appears before his eyes as metaphor for an inexorably sick reality. The level of the seas is rising, ethnic shantytowns are burning, and terrorism is spreading and is trivialized in the name of the divine, inflammatory curses and grotesque emotions all prompted by identity crises. Everything is bought and sold as in clearance sales organized by gambling addicts.
       Even traditional socio-political critique fails in this new world order where "System and Anti-System complement each other !": here the adaptable counter-force is the truly subversive "Alice", at play in the modern wonderland. She takes advantage of everyone from the gullible law-and-order-professing Scandinavian academic to the "selfless, stupid militants (illiterates raised in poverty-stricken barrios) ready to sacrifice themselves for the good of the cause", as she and her ilk ensure their success by making themselves indispensable cogs in the modern capitalist machinery, meeting its demands for destruction and for an enemy. Here where:
The war without concessions against terrorism requires the permanent reality of terror and its commercialization as a vital commodity.
       With his sketches of a violent and perverted world, Goytisolo explodes the traditional novel: fiction, as he practices it, has long since become part of a cycle of destruction and restoration (at what often feels like breakneck speed). He exposes causes and effects as complexly intertwined in vicious circles: there's little hope here for escape from what the human condition has become. Yet there's an almost jolly humor here too: Goytisolo has us laugh at the absurdity, regardless of how dark and serious it is, too.
       Exiled from Almost Everywhere is not the most approachable of works, but is another interesting chapter in this author's fascinating œuvre.

- M.A.Orthofer, 1 February 2011

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Links:

Exiled from Almost Everywhere: Reviews: Juan Goytisolo: Other books by Goytisolo under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Spanish author Juan Goytisolo, born in Barcelona January 5, 1931, has lived in voluntary exile since 1956, mainly in Paris and Morocco. He is the author of numerous highly regarded novels.

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© 2011 the complete review

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