State of Siege
Translated by Helen R. Lane
"Juan Goytisolo's labyrinthine novel, originally published in Spanish in 1995 and now ably translated by Helen Lane, is at once an account of the siege of Sarajevo, a parade of postmodern storytelling techniques and an indictment of Western indifference.... Goytisolo effectively lets Sarajevo's horrors speak for themselves, with his portraits of snipers who take indiscriminate aim at children and of a man who shows tenderness for a starving kitten only to have it die from overeating."
The New York Times Book Review
"Seven years after its original publication, the territory expands apace, well beyond the pages of his novels or any one geographical setting. State of Siege now reads like painful literary prophecy."
"The often-confounding, but ultimately rewarding, narrative lines running circles through State of Siege find Spanish novelist Goytisolo combining a Borgesian spirit of play with the lyrically righteous anger at oppression perfected by Eduardo Galeano."
"Goytisolo's latest novel comes out of his visits to Sarajevo in the early '90s, but it's hardly journalistic. An attempt "to oppose the truth of fiction to the lies of propaganda," the slippery, labyrinthine plot—about the mysterious disappearance of a foreigner's body in a Sarajevo-like city under siege—holds dream narratives, fragments of homoerotic, mystical poetry, and fantasies of a Parisian neighborhood's collapse. Goytisolo strives for a unity of politics and form, trapping his readers and characters alike in an epistemological purgatory in which "Reality has been transmuted into fiction: the horror tale of our daily existence!"–
Village Voice Literary Supplement
"State of Siege is a novel of pure fiction, but infinitely more powerful than all the big speeches about Bosnia."
Le Nouvelle Observer
". . . a passionate dialogue with the reader, a reflection on privacy and commitment (engagement), with the steady vigilant presence of a great literary voice."
"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."
"For the Spaniard Juan Goytisolo, writing is a dangerous adventure."