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State of Siege by Juan Goytisolo

State of Siege

by Juan Goytisolo

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"The voices of a siege are myriad and multivalent, even though we are usually only treated to that of the victor—either the voice of the army that finally storms the beleaguered city or the collective voice of the citizenry that successfully repels the besiegers. Rarely do we hear the voice of the military commander of the impotent and inept International Mediation Force. Rarely do we hear the voice of the victim of fatal sniper or mortar attack. Rarely do we hear the voice of one enduring the siege, attempting to navigate bullets and a "war" economy. Yet, these are exactly the voices that we hear in Juan Goytisolo's novel of war-torn Sarajevo, State of Siege, in addition to the voice of one who has been in the city to observe and write about it (as Goytisolo has).

His novel is a Möbius strip of narrative. There are at least three main interconnected narratives woven into one seamless story that falls in on itself again and again. A character in one of the narratives reads about himself in another; a character in that other narrative reads about himself in the prior. The absurd, claustrophobic, paranoid existence of a siege is perfectly captured by Goytisolo."

Read it all at http://troysworktable.blogspot.com/2007/05/siege-dreams.html ( )
  troysworktable | May 3, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0872864065, Paperback)

A traveler looks out his hotel window on a war-torn city. A mortar explodes in his room and, when the police arrive, the corpse has disappeared and only a notebook of apocryphal writings and poems is found. These enigmas lead into a labyrinth, where blind and barbarous forces lay siege to individual lives and diverse cultures.

"State of Siege is a novel of pure fiction, but infinitely more powerful than all the big speeches about Bosnia."—Le Nouvel Observateur

"A passionate dialogue with the reader, a reflection on privacy and commitment [engagement], with the steady vigilant presence of a great literary voice."—Le Monde

"The reader is thrown into the unreality of a besieged city, as if a firm hand had rudely pushed him out of the tank that brought him from the airport."—L’Express

"For the Spaniard Juan Goytisolo, writing is a dangerous adventure."—Lire

"Dreams, reminiscences of the war in Spain, thoughts on the novel, borrowings from mystery and detective fiction, references to ancient cultures and Arabic culture, numerous allusions to the narrative structure of Don Quixote—these make up the form of this novel that, as the author says in an ironic and provocative way, isn’t written ‘according to the rules.’"—Fayard Presse

Juan Goytisolo was born in Barcelona in 1931 and lives in Marrakech. In 1993, he was awarded the Nelly Sachs Prize for his literary achievement and contribution to world culture. His translated works include a two-volume autobiography, Forbidden Territory and Realms of Strife, the novels Marks of Identity, Count Julian, Juan the Landless, Quarantine, Virtues of a Solitary Bird, The Marx Family Saga, and The Garden of Secrets, and the essays Saracen Chronicles and Landscapes of War.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:32 -0400)

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