Book Reviews, Fiction in Translation, Reviewing

Fin de Fiesta by Juan Goytisolo|Thresholds

Juan Goytisolo, photo by Manel Armengol (Copied from Flickr)
Juan Goytisolo, photo by Manel Armengol (Copied from Flickr)

Piece about Juan Goytisolo’s book of four short stories, Fin de Fiesta, for the Thresholds Short Story Forum: Love and Ageing in the Stories of Juan Goytisolo.


“The cover of the 1966 Panther edition of Juan Goytisolo’s The Party’s Over, has a woman lying on the sand, eyelashes spiky with mascara, her head resting on a naked man’s chest. I wonder how successful the publisher’s attempt to pass Goytisolo’s collection of four stories as a steamy summer read was. The book, subtitled Four Attempts to Define a Love Story, is far subtler than the cover infers. I read it in Spanish when I was a teenager, having discovered Goytisolo through his novel Duelo en el Paraiso, set during the Spanish civil war.(…)”

“Because of the subtitle, we read the book with love in mind, yet it proves elusive. The question, for the characters and for the reader, might be: what love is possible in these conditions? We are left with the sense that it is ethereal. These four variations on the theme manage to draw its outline, nothing more. It is striking that the ingredients of lust are ever present, seemingly fulfilling the promise of the garish book cover. Lust permeates the book: it’s in Loles’s young body, in the muscular arms of a fisherman, in the low-cut blouse of a Portuguese tourist. But it is a hopeless lust; those who satiate it end up discontented. It does not signal love, nor does love grow from it. When the characters were twenty, their mutual attraction might have been the start of something, but now they know better.(…)”




Leave a Reply