Episode 9 of Bulaq — a podcast co-hosted by Ursula Lindsey (The Arabist) and M. Lynx Qualey (ArabLit), and produced by Issandr Amrani (The Arabist) — is about “Good Bad Reviews”: 

Although the meat of the episode is around reviewing, it kicks off with a discussion of an article Hisham Aidi published on MERIP. The piece, on Juan Goytisolo, is subtitled “Tangier, Havana and the Treasonous Intellectual.”

It opens:

For the past 25 years, every evening around sunset, an elderly man could be seen gingerly crossing the Boulevard Pasteur, Tangier’s busy main thoroughfare. Shuffling toward the Grand Poste, he would walk slowly down the pavement to Café Maravillosa. Regulars would stand up to shake his hand. “Marhba, Si Juan.” Waiters would greet him, “Ja’izat Nobel dyalna, our own Nobel laureate,” and set him up at a table with a pot of green tea. For the next two hours, a steady rotation of old acquaintances, students and tourists would stop by to chat or take a photo.

This re-assessment of Goytisolo’s work is unflinching yet generous, and Aidi’s critical overview of the life and work of this Spanish writer — who spent much of his life in Morocco — is interlaced with elements of Aidi’s own story.

Keep reading: “Juan Goytisolo: Tangier, Havana and the Treasonous Intellectual.”

Listen: Bulaq Episode 9