Although he is not well known in the United States outside of college Spanish departments, Juan Goytisolo ranks as one of the most important Spanish writers since the Second World War. His novels, stories, and essays are automatically issued in English-language editions by the major publishers, with translations by such heavyweights in the field as Helen R Lane. The latest Goytisolo work to come out in America (translated not by Lane, but by the much less reliable Peter Bush) is Forbidden Territory, the first volume of Goytisolo’s memoirs, written in 1985.

Juan Goytisolo is a member of the last generation of Spaniards for whom the 1936-39 Civil War was the definitive life experience. The son of a small-scale Barcelona industrialist, he was born in 1931, the year that Catalonia, with Barcelona as its seat, proclaimed the Republic. By 1936, with the victory of the Popular Front,...


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