EXILED FROM ALMOST EVERYWHERE by Juan Goytisolo
Translated by Peter Bush
Some books bend time. Written almost twenty years ago, Exiled From Almost Everywhere is a cryptic, gratuitous and challenging foray into the kind of things that have come to captivate us to the point of obsession. It’s like Goytisolo had a crystal ball through which he could foresee zeitgeists.
The plot - to the extent there is one - is pretty bananas. A notorious pedophile is killed in a terrorist blast. He wakes in an afterlife of endless computer screens, a macabre house of mirrors filled with scenes of religious horror and political turmoil. He is inundated with horrible email solicitations. Somewhere along the line he is roped in to a terrorist organisation by the mysterious “Alice” and, following a series of increasingly fanciful orders, prepares for an attack. Which, you know, is kind of hard to carry out when you’re dead.
If this cyberspace of the damned is confounding, there is good reason. Goytisolo has created an absurdist Wonderland designed to parody many of our sacred cows, and force us to second guess what we often take for granted. It is an intellectually demanding exercise; fragmentary and often ugly. Or, as I like to call it, everyday life.
Exiled From Almost Everywhere by Juan Goytisolo (Tr. Peter Bush)
Dalkey Archive, 2011