For Goytisolo, great writers are 'solitary birds' whose voice is an enchanting cry that pierces time.On his hospital bed, the persecuted narrator identifies with St John of the Cross, himself forced by the Inquisition to swallow his Treatise on the Qualities of the Solitary Bird. Through the scintillating successions of visions, soliloquies and ecstatic chants he converses with the banished saints. The agencies of repression have changed but, as in the past, a hideous revenge will be wrought on the heretic whose work is seen to be as deadly a contamination as AIDS. Four hundred years ago, St John creatively ransacked in his writing the cultures of Christianity, biblical Judaism and Muslim mysticism. Juan Goytisolo now pays rich homage, with atonal dissonance and constant invention.Goytisolo, Juan is the author of 'Virtues of the Solitary Bird', published 1993 under ISBN 9781852421755 and ISBN 1852421754.