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Quarantine: A Novel [Hardcover]

Juan Goytisolo
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1 1994 Spanish Literature Series

Quarantine is the newest novel by one of Spain's most provocative writers. The novel recounts the forty days in which, according to Islamic tradition, the soul wanders between death and eternity, still in possession of a tenuous, dreamlike body. After the unexpected death of a friend, the narrator - a writer like Goytisolo - follows her in his imagination into this otherworld where all kinds of implausible (or are they?) things occur. Meanwhile, television and radio report the 40-day war in the Persian Gulf, and images of war's destruction mingle with the narrator's vivid imagination of the torments of the underworld. Simultaneously, the narrator is writing the novel we are reading, for writing itself is a kind of quarantine where the writer withdraws from the world to wander in the otherworld of the imagination. Quarantine is thus both an exploration of the human condition and an investigation of the writing process. It celebrates friendship and denounces war with equal force, and despite the grim themes is filled with humor, shocking surprises, playful language, and love.


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From Publishers Weekly

In this rarefied experimental novel, Spanish novelist Goytisolo ( The Virtues of the Solitary Bird ) attempts to penetrate the 40-day waiting period between death and eternity when, according to Islamic tradition, the soul wanders still sheathed in a fragile, dreamlike body. The nameless narrator, a writer based in Paris (as is Goytisolo), learns of a friend's sudden death and joins her in the shadowy afterworld by dint of a leap of consciousness. Together and separately, they have chance encounters with celestial nomads who judge the dead. The friend meets the shade of Ibn Arabi, a 13th-century Sufi mystic whose portrayal of the afterlife influenced Dante's Divine Comedy. News of contemporary events, including the Persian Gulf war, filters through to them and mingles with other searing images of carnage and brutality. Besides injecting an eloquent antiwar message, Goytisolo draws parallels between the soul's journey in the next world and the act of writing, which to him involves "abolishing the frontiers between reality and dream." Bush, who translated Goytisolo's memoirs, deftly conveys the lyrical, complex, rhapsodic style used here to evoke spiritual transcendence.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Goytisolo, whose title refers to the Islamic tradition of wandering for 40 days between death and eternity, follows a recently deceased female friend who is also a novelist. It also symbolizes the isolation of the novelist at work as he multiplies levels of interpretation in order to "destabilize" the reader. As records all sorts of surrealistic events, news reports are blaring surrealistic accounts of the 40-day ordeal of Desert Storm. Bombs dropped on Baghdad and Basra are linked in the author's mind to bombs dropped on Barcelona, one of which felled Goytisolo's mother. Committed to plumbing both the human condition and the process of literary creation, the scholarly narrator ponders the alleged relationship between ibn Arabi's Book of the Descent of the Prophet and Dante's Inferno and even questions the relevance of Dante's vengeful Gehenna in today's world of enlightened humane values. A challenging work by one of the giants of Spanish literature.
- Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Goytisolo continues one of the boldest adventures in modern literature with this eloquent journey into the world between life and death where, according to Muslim belief, the soul lingers on its way to final judgment. Written in Goytisolo's hallmark style of dark lyricism, in an intense, almost oratorical, diction, the novel transcends the possibility of its own genre - it quarantines you the reader in a dark and fierce joy before releasing you into the questionable light.
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Goytisolo continues one of the boldest adventures in modern literature with this eloquent journey into the world between life and death where, according to Muslim belief, the soul lingers on its way to final judgment. Written in Goytisolo's hallmark style of dark lyricism, in an intense, almost oratorical, diction, the novel transcends the possibility of its own genre - it quarantines you the reader in a dark and fierce joy before releasing you into the questionable light.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent journey into a land between life and death July 17 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Goytisolo continues one of the boldest adventures in modern literature with this eloquent journey into the world between life and death where, according to Muslim belief, the soul lingers on its way to final judgment. Written in Goytisolo's hallmark style of dark lyricism, in an intense, almost oratorical, diction, the novel transcends the possibility of its own genre - it quarantines you the reader in a dark and fierce joy before releasing you into the questionable light.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent journey into a land between life and death July 17 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Goytisolo continues one of the boldest adventures in modern literature with this eloquent journey into the world between life and death where, according to Muslim belief, the soul lingers on its way to final judgment. Written in Goytisolo's hallmark style of dark lyricism, in an intense, almost oratorical, diction, the novel transcends the possibility of its own genre - it quarantines you the reader in a dark and fierce joy before releasing you into the questionable light.
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