Roberto Bolano

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"by night in chile" was good , and now i've got hyped "savage detectives" for me to explore.
any thoughts about him and this particular book?

also, "nazi litreture in america" is now published, and his other mega thick masterpiece(?!) novel "2666" is suppoosed to be out later this year.

Zeno, Tuesday, 25 March 2008 22:53 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm plowing through Nazi Literature in America right now. It probably owes more to Borges than anything else I've ever read by him. I'm enjoying it for the most part, but the best chapters out of it (the one on Irma Carrasco is my favorite so far) introduce characters so rich in potential that it's sad to see them disappear a few short pages later. That's a good problem to have, though.

The Savage Detectives was the first thing I ever read by him, and it's still one of my very favorite books. In some ways, especially in the middle section with all of the interviews, it does the same thing I mentioned above in introducing characters that are gone too soon. The difference is, given his format in that section, there's always a possibility that they'll pop up again, either as a person being directly interviewed, or as a character in someone else's version of events. And those are just the "minor" characters in the book. Joaquin Font, the bookstore owner, stood out for me. Seeing his name pop up on the next page is always a "yes!" moment, at least for me.

Then there's the main pair, Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima. Belano is supposed to be a stand-in for Roberto Bolano himself, which gives any scene that he's a part of another dimension to explore, if you want. Again, the interview format for the long middle section of the book is perfect for getting to know these characters. Some people think they're brilliant, others see them as mere drug dealers, some are teenagers who look up to them, others sleep with them, and so on.

It's a really rewarding book, so good that I'm almost sad I started with it, because although I've enjoyed the other books I've read by him, I think he's at his best with more space to work with, letting his characters unfold over hundreds of enjoyable pages. That's why I'm so excited for 2666, later this year!

Z S, Sunday, 30 March 2008 17:17 (fourteen years ago) link

Arg, Nazi Literature in THE AmericaS.

Z S, Sunday, 30 March 2008 17:17 (fourteen years ago) link

amazing how the style in "savage" is so different than "night in chile" - almost like they were written by a different writer.
my impressions from the first part of "savage detectives" is that like a combination between hemingway,kerouak and cortazar's "hopsctch" with great irony towards it's characters, and more of a direct,sometiems brutal writing approach (sex and viloence scenes).

but i havent reach to the second part yet which is a totaly differnt story and style.

"by night in chile", in big contradiction was kinda surrealist, and full of images and dark atmosphere, like a long poem.

Zeno, Sunday, 30 March 2008 18:48 (fourteen years ago) link


remy bean, Sunday, 30 March 2008 19:00 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm looking forward to the translations of his poetry, too. I remember reading somewhere that he pretty much dedicated his life to poetry until the mid-90s, when he turned to fiction to make some money to support his family, once he found out about his terminal illness.

Z S, Sunday, 30 March 2008 20:12 (fourteen years ago) link

except for belano and lima, most of the vicerrealistas are still alive >

the thin column that's at the left of this was afaik lima's only obituary.

chiquita, Sunday, 30 March 2008 22:33 (fourteen years ago) link

Los detectives salvajes is really great, there's a lot of Cortázar in it. I have 2666 and am looking forward to reading it.

jim, Sunday, 30 March 2008 22:40 (fourteen years ago) link

Wait, there really was a Belano? I thought he was modeled after Bolano?

Z S, Sunday, 30 March 2008 22:51 (fourteen years ago) link

He was. There was a real Lima though.

jim, Sunday, 30 March 2008 22:56 (fourteen years ago) link

belano is modeled after roberto bolaño.
lima is modeled after mario santiago papasquiaro.

there are some pictures here.

chiquita, Sunday, 30 March 2008 22:58 (fourteen years ago) link

i think the first part is more like a parody about cortazar's "hopscotch": the heroes here are young, naive, as oppose to those in "hopscotch" which are dead serious, and getting extremely deep (in thoughts and in action) in their quest for meaning.
in the "savage", it's more about the sex drugs and adventure of youth, while the "art" is usually and ironiclly of course, just a bunch of shallow words and/or name-dropping game,that covers naive and stupidity sometimes.

Zeno, Monday, 31 March 2008 00:54 (fourteen years ago) link

It's going to be a monster:

Somehow I want to start with that one, which I know is backwards.

_Rockist__Scientist_, Monday, 7 April 2008 19:23 (fourteen years ago) link

Agh, November! I was hoping that 2666 was coming out during the summer, when I actually have time to read it. Then again, it would be a great Winter break read as well.

Z S, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 02:27 (fourteen years ago) link

What Do Customers Ultimately Buy After Viewing This Item?

81% buy the item featured on this page:
2666: A Novel

I don't trust Amazon sometimes. After viewing this page, 81% chose to buy the book 7 months in advance? Seriously?

Z S, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 02:32 (fourteen years ago) link

I just got The Savage Detectives from the library, yay!

franny glass, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 12:52 (fourteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...

uh mentioned this in the other thread but savage detectives blew me away !!!

deej, Friday, 25 April 2008 05:36 (fourteen years ago) link

btw there's a great piece on it in the new yorker archives

deej, Friday, 25 April 2008 13:11 (fourteen years ago) link

I know the piece you're talking about...actually, I'd never even heard of Bolano before I read it, and it was one of those reviews that convinced me to immediately go out and buy the book.

Z S, Friday, 25 April 2008 23:22 (fourteen years ago) link

just started it.

Jordan, Friday, 2 May 2008 14:36 (fourteen years ago) link

Maybe I should give it another go, but it bored the hell out of me. I was so disappointed after reading James Wood's rave last spring.

Meanwhile By Night in Chile was damn impressive.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Friday, 2 May 2008 17:54 (fourteen years ago) link

Yeah, that New Yorker article was totally "Behold, a new dead genius in our midst" - it made me want to read everything by him too. I did read By Night in Chile, which was fairly interesting, though not exactly mind-blowing. Haven't tried anything else yet.

o. nate, Friday, 2 May 2008 18:37 (fourteen years ago) link

"savage" is much much better and totally different than "chile" in scope,style,everything.
infact, two weeks after ive done with "savage" i still cant get it out of my head.

Zeno, Friday, 2 May 2008 20:10 (fourteen years ago) link

I will give Savage Detectives another try, it seemed kind of wack when I tried the first time but then again I am myself wack.

Dimension 5ive, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 21:21 (fourteen years ago) link

OK, have got 'Nazi Literature' and 'Last Evenings' on the way in the post. Was very tempted by 'Savage Detectives' but bailed at the last moment due to its size (I just read the 900-page 'Fortunes of Richard Mahoney' and it exhausted me).

James Morrison, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 23:10 (fourteen years ago) link

i thought the beginning bit was pretty wack but after that - huge improvement (for me)

t_g, Friday, 9 May 2008 11:12 (fourteen years ago) link

Maybe I made a mistake in starting with Savage Detectives. By Night in Chile and Nazi Literature in the Americas are good, but the at the same level of Savage Detectives. I'm hoping 2666 will be at least at the same level, or step it up a notch.

Z S, Saturday, 10 May 2008 05:31 (fourteen years ago) link

but NOT at the same level, I meant, agh.

Z S, Saturday, 10 May 2008 05:32 (fourteen years ago) link

Oh, and I meant to make some dumb analogy to starting with some band's best album, and then being left with the great but comparatively weaker material afterward.


Z S, Saturday, 10 May 2008 05:33 (fourteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...

this dude has some major heat on him right now - first time in ages that a friend has just handed me a book and said "here, I want you to have this, I know when you read it you'll love it" with that kind of evangelical self-assurance y'know

started that book today so far quite good

J0hn D., Sunday, 1 June 2008 01:01 (fourteen years ago) link

savage detectives?

t_g, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 12:22 (fourteen years ago) link

there's some good bolano backlash on the "what's a noize dude reading?" thread.

Jordan, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 12:57 (fourteen years ago) link

of course there is

n/a, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 13:09 (fourteen years ago) link

did you finish it, nick?

Jordan, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 13:11 (fourteen years ago) link

yeah it was great

n/a, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 13:37 (fourteen years ago) link


Jordan, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 13:40 (fourteen years ago) link

now i'm reading 'clockers' and it's like whoah how are there so many amazing books?

n/a, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 13:42 (fourteen years ago) link

ha, i'm about to start 'lush life'.

Jordan, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 13:50 (fourteen years ago) link

four months pass...

2666 coming out november 11,

outstanding reviews all over.can't wait to read it.

“Bolaño’s masterwork . . . An often shockingly raunchy and violent tour de force (though the phrase seems hardly adequate to describe the novel’s narrative velocity, polyphonic range, inventiveness, and bravery) based in part on the still unsolved murders of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juárez, in the Sonora desert near the Texas border.” —FRANCISCO GOLDMAN, The New York Review of Books

“Not just the great Spanish-language novel of [this] decade, but one of the cornerstones that define an entire literature.” —J. A. MASOLIVER RÓDENAS, La Vanguardia

“One of those strange, exquisite, and astonishing experiences that literature offers us only once in a very long time . . . to see . . . a writer in full pursuit of the Total Novel, one that not only completes his life’s work but redefines it and raises it to new dizzying heights.” —RODRIGO FRESÁN, El País

"Bolano's savoir-faire is incredible ... The exploded narrative reveals a virtuosity that we rarely encounter, and one cannot help being bowled over by certain bravura passages--to single one out, the series of reports describing murdered young women, which is both magnificent and unbearable. We won't even mention the 'resolution' of this infernal 2666, a world of a novel in which the power of words triumphs over savagery." --Baptiste Liger, L'EXPRESS

"Splendid ... The jaw-dropping synthesis of a brief but incredibly fertile career." --Fabrice Gabriel, LES INROCKUPTIBLES

"The event of the spring: with 2666 Roberto Bolano has given us his most dense, complex, and powerful novel, a meditation on literature and evil that begins with a sordid newspaper item in contemporary Mexico." --Morgan Boedec, CHRONIC ART

"Including the imaginary and the mythic alongside the real in his historiography, without ever dabbling in the magical realism dear to many of his Latin-American peers, Bolano strews his chronicle with dreams and visions. As in the films of David Lynch (with whom Bolano's novel shares a certain kinship) these become a catalyst for reflection ... In such darkness, one must keep one's eyes wide open. Bolano invites us to do just that." --Sabine Audrerie, LA CROIX

"An immense moment for literature ... With prodigious skill and his inimitable art of digression, Bolano leads us to the gates of his own hell. May he burn in peace." --TECHNIKART

"Bolano constructs a chaos that has an order all its own ... The state of the world today transmuted into literature." --Isabelle Ruf, LE TEMPS

"To confront the reader with the horror of the contemporary world was Bolano's guiding ambition. He succeeded, to say the least. Upset, shocked, sometimes even sickened, at times one is tempted to shut the book because it's unbearable to read. Don't shut it. Far from being a blood-and-guts thriller meant to entertain, 2666 is a 'visceral realist" portrait of the human condition in the twenty-first century." --Anna Topaloff, MARIANNE

"On every page the reader marvels, hypnotized, at the capacity of this baroque writer to encompass all literary genres in a single fascinating, enigmatic story. No doubt many readers will find 2666 inexhaustible to interpretation. It is a fully realized work by a pure genius at the height of his powers." --LIRE

"His masterpiece ... Bolano borrows from vaudeville and the campus novel, from noir and pulp, from science fiction, from the Bildungsroman, from war novels; the tone of his writing oscillates between humor and total darkness, between the simplicity of a fairytale and the false neutrality of a police report." --Minh Tran Huy, LE MAGAZINE LITTERAIRE (Paris)

"The book explores evil with irony, without any theory or resolution, relying on storytelling alone as its saving grace... Each story is an adventure: a fresco at once horrifying, delicate, grotesque, redundant, and absurd, revealed by the flashlight of a child who stands at the threshold of a cave he will never leave." --Philippe Lancon, LIBERATION

"If THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES recounted the end of a century of avant-gardes and ideological battles, 2666, more radically, evokes the end of humanity as we know it. Apocalyptic in this sense, wavering between decomposition and totality, endlessly in love with people and books, Bolano's last novel ranges over the world and history like the knight Percival, who in Bolano's words 'wears his fool's motley underneath his armor.'" --Fabienne Dumontet, LE MONDE DES LIVRES (Paris)

"A work of genius: a work of immense lucidity and narrative cunning, written with a unique mixture of creative power and intimate existential desperation, the work of a master whose voice has all the authority and seeming effortlessness that we associate with the great classics of the ages ... It is impossible to read this book without feeling the earth shift beneath one's feet. It is impossible to venture deep into writing so unforgiving without feeling inwardly moved--by a shudder of fear, maybe even horror, but also by its need to pay attention, by its desire for clarity, by its hunger for the real." --Andres Ibanaz, BLANCO Y NEGRO

"Without a doubt the greatest of Bolano's productions ... The five parts of this masterwork can be read separately, as five isolated novels; none loses any of its brilliance, but what's lost is the grandeur that they achieve in combination, the grandeur of a project truly rare in fiction nowadays, one that can be enjoyed only in its totality." --Ana Maria Moix, EL PAIS

"Make no mistake, 2666 is a work of huge importance ... a complex literary experience, in which the author seeks to set down his nightmares while he feels time running out. Bolano inspires passion, even when his material, his era, and his volume seem overwhelming. This could only be published in a single volume, and it can only be read as one." --EL MUNDO

"An absolute masterpiece ... Bolano writes almost without adjectives, but in his prose this leads to double meanings. The narration is pure metonymy: it omits feelings in favor of facts. A phone call or a sex act can express real tragedy, the sweep of the vast human condition." --Andres Lomena, LA OPINION DE MALAGA

Zeno, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 14:56 (thirteen years ago) link

I've still got 2666 to read, in a pile that includes the Recognitions by Gaddis and Underworld by DeLillo. I think I'll get to it first, really liked detectives salvages a lot.

what U cry 4 (jim), Wednesday, 15 October 2008 14:58 (thirteen years ago) link

+ don't want to wait 'til next year to be reading it of course.

what U cry 4 (jim), Wednesday, 15 October 2008 14:58 (thirteen years ago) link

man that does sound exciting. just pre-ordered that 3 volume box set now.

t_g, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 15:05 (thirteen years ago) link

savage detective was awesome.
the ambivalent of Bolano's thoughts and feelings towards art and artists (supreme or pretentious/naive? maybe both at the same time)
is deliverd in a highly original way

Zeno, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 15:05 (thirteen years ago) link

oh man, i want to read this but after finishing infinite jest i don't think i'll want to read another 900+ pager

Jordan, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 16:16 (thirteen years ago) link

I'm put off by the size, but the boxed set is a thing of beauty

James Morrison, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 22:32 (thirteen years ago) link

i think i might order this as a present for myself to read once i'm done with this semester of grad school. i can't handle anything this heavy while i'm doing school, unfortunately

metametadata (n/a), Wednesday, 15 October 2008 22:40 (thirteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...

^^yah me too. this might be my winter break book. heard mixed stuff about savage detectives but i may give this one a go.

Mr. Que, Friday, 7 November 2008 17:18 (thirteen years ago) link

savage detectives was great. i never actually ordered 2066, i should do that now.

metametadata (n/a), Friday, 7 November 2008 17:23 (thirteen years ago) link

done ... now i just need to forget i ordered it before next week so it'll be a pleasant surprise when it arrives

metametadata (n/a), Friday, 7 November 2008 17:29 (thirteen years ago) link

I ordered it a few days ago, along with Saramago's Death With Interruptions. I probably will not get a chance to start either until May 17th, 2009, my 26th birthday, graduate school graduation day, end of a personal nightmare, and beginning of the better part of my life. I'm really looking forward to that day.

z "R" s (Z S), Friday, 7 November 2008 17:29 (thirteen years ago) link

the third reich!!!

Yorkshire lass born and bred, that's me, said Katriona's hologram. (thomp), Friday, 16 November 2012 22:27 (nine years ago) link

i never thought about it but nazis were kind of a wellspring for this guy huh

Yorkshire lass born and bred, that's me, said Katriona's hologram. (thomp), Friday, 16 November 2012 22:28 (nine years ago) link

only totally

j., Saturday, 17 November 2012 04:34 (nine years ago) link

Certainly. His fascination w/Ernst Junger (a favourte of Adolf and the question of whether he was a fascist or not) ties into that.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 17 November 2012 10:56 (nine years ago) link

at 135 pages i am less into the third reich than i was at 35 i guess

Yorkshire lass born and bred, that's me, said Katriona's hologram. (thomp), Saturday, 17 November 2012 11:17 (nine years ago) link

yup that was definitely a desk novel

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Monday, 26 November 2012 12:57 (nine years ago) link

So in 2666 and related narratives people struggle with something they're in the midst of, a part of living and killing history on the other side(s) of a curtain, just across the border. Call it Murder, Inc, but a non-profit, just played for kinky kicks, apparently. A hobby of gangsters, maybe. Nothing personal, just insatiably twisted. Spooky in a way a grand visionary conspiracy isn't. Not that the Nazis etc. don't figure, but we keep coming back to Santa Teresa. All those invalid writers in asylums, etc, have connections, even though they don't know it, and despite their lines of magnetism (they're figures of fascination for other characters), those are the same lines that lead us back. Even Archimboldi, who's lived through so much, and still roves the periphery of Europe at 80, is drawn into Santa Teresa, to sort it all out, or deal with it as he can. Disappears into that, as far as we know now (but I haven't read Woes of the True Policeman yet). It's the way things are.

dow, Tuesday, 27 November 2012 19:48 (nine years ago) link

eight months pass...

As it still does occasionally, 2666 is finding its way through the traffic in my head tonight: the onslaught of monologues, but not to overload like in those early DeLillos: all the words find their voices again, still testifying, still trying to drown out the silence (of the killers, for instance, but also everything else waiting indifferently, obvliously, and thus ominously, at least for those of us who need the attention,or think we do)

dow, Tuesday, 6 August 2013 04:27 (nine years ago) link

this book is pretty unforgettable, i agree. i prefer early delillo though, to bolano's relentless, seemingly humorless bleakness. he really wants the reader to feel, palpably, the overwhelming cruelty that exists in the world, which is irreconcilable with most of the ways that people like to think about things. and this is, in a way, an ethical project... especially if it can sensitize people to the suffering of others in a way that allows them to be better "global citizens" or something. the issue is that, for bolano, a disillusioned ex-marxist iirc, i suspect this is impossible... that we are already too far gone, already living in the apocalypse but just don't realize it. so in this sense, the book feels -- at times -- somewhat gratuitous, even sadistic. but that's a part of why it's so powerful.

Treeship, Tuesday, 6 August 2013 04:32 (nine years ago) link

(Not to dismiss early DeLillo--I was thinking of Americana and Great Jones Street, with many appealing set pieces, but they pile up)Tonight I'm thinking of the old witch lady on a Mexican talk show, who wants to drive the murdering bastards out; and the old African-American man, telling his story and how to eat right and live right--that's what I meant, at the moment I wrote it, by testifying, and it seemed like Bolano was gentle with those characters, and holding them up to say, "Hell yeah---see?" Raging in his cage, as much as an authorial god can allow himself to do (even if I didn't know he was dying, I think I would still think this) But yeah, by-his-bootstraps ex-Marxist exile still droppin' science etc, that too.

dow, Tuesday, 6 August 2013 04:54 (nine years ago) link

(dropping the other hobnail boot too; def relentless)

dow, Tuesday, 6 August 2013 04:59 (nine years ago) link

Like James Agee circa Let Us Now etc.: evan more than (or at least, in the midst of)art-in-your-face/King James Bible shitstorms/smell of brimstone looming, a gut reaction to the state of things is palpable.

dow, Tuesday, 6 August 2013 05:05 (nine years ago) link

maybe it's most similar to das kapital, especially the parts where marx leads you through the awful conditions of the factories and forces you, at the same time, to consider the relationships among people in a much bleaker way than you are accustomed to doing. so like, what you are seeing is in a sense familiar -- urban squalor in the case of marx, terrible violence in impoverished areas of latin america in bolano -- but due to the way it is presented, it is like you are seeing it all for the first time, and recognizing that you live in hell in a way that you haven't before. the main difference, i think, is that revolution/redemption seems out of reach in bolano's universe.

Treeship, Tuesday, 6 August 2013 05:09 (nine years ago) link

Yes, maybe especially like when Marx is writing with Engels. Also, it's like B.'s gotta be Walker Evans, seemingly austere, *and* Agee: deadpan and audacious. Dante and Virgil too (who are both Dante).

dow, Tuesday, 6 August 2013 05:15 (nine years ago) link

(but it can be pretty entertaining too, in different ways: the first section can seem like a Woody Allen movie at times, until...and no wonder that science fiction writer finally fell out of favor with Stalin!)

dow, Tuesday, 6 August 2013 05:34 (nine years ago) link

really concerned about the idea of bolano being 'humourless'

i better not get any (thomp), Tuesday, 6 August 2013 18:28 (nine years ago) link

I think his is a kind of humorlessness that knows what humor is, and can mimic it, but ultimately the absurd elements if 2666 dont add up to levity, in my view.

Treeship, Tuesday, 6 August 2013 19:35 (nine years ago) link

Interesting. I find lots of things, like Poe for instance, hilarious when other ppl dont comment as much on it. This wasnt my experience of 2666 though, clearly

Treeship, Tuesday, 6 August 2013 20:02 (nine years ago) link

'that's when the battle began. the visceral realists questioned álamo's critical system and he responded by calling them cut-rate surrealists and fake marxists. five members of the workshop backed him up; in other words, everyone but me and a skinny kid who always carried around a book by lewis carroll and never spoke.'

j., Saturday, 17 August 2013 07:06 (nine years ago) link

four months pass...

The Third Reich -- yea or nay?

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 3 January 2014 16:59 (eight years ago) link

Qualified yea - it's pretty obviously an earlier work while he was still finding his feet but the conceit is good and the central character is very funny. It's enjoyable enough if you don't expect anything near the level of The Savage Detectives or 2666.

Matt DC, Friday, 3 January 2014 18:43 (eight years ago) link

Agreed, I enjoyed it. Sort of a mood piece, where the characters don't really act like humans but it's all internally consistent, reminded me of Lynch that way.

festival culture (Jordan), Friday, 3 January 2014 18:49 (eight years ago) link

It also has the unexpected pleasure of Bolano talking about the Judge Dredd role-playing game

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Sunday, 5 January 2014 04:40 (eight years ago) link

five months pass...

epigraph for bolaño’s a little lumpen novelita

j., Sunday, 8 June 2014 15:07 (eight years ago) link

Artaud otm

arid banter (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 8 June 2014 15:20 (eight years ago) link

Hey! Some of my best friends are pigs.

Aimless, Sunday, 8 June 2014 17:57 (eight years ago) link

three weeks pass...

I had a strange Bolaño-moment this week. In Bolaño's ´Between Parentheses´ he writes about the movie and book ´84 Charing Cross Road'. Watching that movie this week, I noticed that someone in the moview asks about a book on Archimboldi in a book shop. In the movie, Archimboldi's a graphic artist but I guess that's where Bolaño took his name from for ´2666´ (I havent´t read the book ´84 Charing Cross Road´ so I have no idea if his name is mentioned there).

EvR, Wednesday, 2 July 2014 16:26 (eight years ago) link

nine months pass...

I just finished Between Parenthesis. I'll need to find that film.

As a result of finishing the book I was doing some Bolano research tonight (or googling). Many (if not all the pieces) were written while he was feverishly writing 2666, so actually this turns into a keeper, something to read in parallel.

I made a little list of stuff to get (or keeping until it is translated):

Rodrigo Fresan - Mantra (not translated, although Kensington Gardens has been translated)
Juan Rodolfo Wilcock - The Temple of Iconoclasts
Jaime Bayly - I Love My Mommy (not trans.?)
Roberto Arlt - short stories (not sure, but there is a bk)
Rodrigo Rey Rosa - (couple of things knocking about)
Carmen Boullosa - (as above)

Bolano is clearly made by Argentinian writing from the 30s and 40s (the group around Borges although he talks about Macedonio Fernandez (whose Museum of Eterna's Novel has been translated), then Sabato (keep meaning to read The Tunnel), Arlt, Borges of course (he loves his poetry which isn't as well regarded in English at least) (he is the absolute central figure and why not..), Bioy, Ocampo (NYRB really helping here, the latter just issued).

Bolano does have this love/hate r/ship w/the Latin American boom, seems to love as originally conceived but then hate with an equal zeal because of what it became in the hands of Isabel Allende and the like. Then again he seemed to have made a ton of friends through writing - so combative but v sociable too. Really good newspaper reviewer.

On the poetry front he idolizes Parra (whom I've read now), likes Lihn (not a hope in finding) and then Catalan and Spanish poets I'm not going to find.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 3 April 2015 23:13 (seven years ago) link

Sorry Macedonio Hernandez is the person who invented Borges

xyzzzz__, Friday, 3 April 2015 23:14 (seven years ago) link

that movie is available in the itunes store. i need to reread ´Between Parentheses'.

apparently he was friends with javier cercas, who casts him in his novel ´soldiers of salamis´. i think the swordfighting-on-the-beach scene in ´the savage detectives´ is about him and enrique vila-matas.

there´s a spanish book called ´bolaño por si mismo´ which is quite good if you want to know more about his influences.

EvR, Saturday, 11 April 2015 13:03 (seven years ago) link

apparently he was friends with javier cercas, who casts him in his novel ´soldiers of salamis

Yeah Bolano reviews the book in Between Parentheses - such a strange reading experience..

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 11 April 2015 13:13 (seven years ago) link

like the poem from romantic dogs you posted several thousand years ago upthread, xyzzzz. waiting to pick it up from the library, read some in a bookstore & felt prepped to really like it.

tender is the late-night daypart (schlump), Saturday, 11 April 2015 18:43 (seven years ago) link

Cool, I actually have only read a couple of poems from that myself.

I do not own any Bolano, its all read from libraries. The copy I see of 2666 is so horrible looking though.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 11 April 2015 19:10 (seven years ago) link

eight months pass...

The Rebeca Nodier bookstore is tended by Rebeca Nodier herself, an old woman in her eighties who is completely blind and wears unruly white dresses that match her dentures; armed with a cane and alerted by the creaky wooden floor, she hops up and introduces herself to everyone who walks into her store, I'm Rebeca Nodier, etc., finally asking in turn the name of the "lover of literature" she has the "pleasure of meeting" and inquires what kind of literature he or she is looking for. I told her that I was interested in my poetry, and to my surprise, Mrs. Nodier said all poets were bums but they weren't bad in bed. Especially if they don't have any money, she went on. Then she asked me how old I was. Seventeen, I said. Oh, you're still a pipsqueak, she exclaimed. And then: you're not planning to steal any of my books, are you? I promised her that I would rather die. We chatted for a while, and then I left.

j., Tuesday, 22 December 2015 08:16 (six years ago) link

thank you for that. Ms. Nodier deserves our boundless admiration.

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Tuesday, 22 December 2015 18:17 (six years ago) link

one month passes...

There's now another theatrical adaptation of 2666 in Chicago, though this interview with its directors strangely never mentions the earlier attempt by Pablo Ley Fancelli and Alex Rigola in Barcelona, 2007:

one way street, Wednesday, 17 February 2016 14:59 (six years ago) link

two years pass...

i read Amulet last week and couldn't put it down. the reclusive painter honing in on Erigone and Orestes, Arturo Belano negotiating like he's in the mafia, the singing ghosts in the valley, Auxilio covering her missing teeth when she speaks. i enjoyed it despite not knowing anything about the Tlatelolco massacre, the topic the whole fucking book is dancing around. someday after i've learned one or two more things about the world i look forward to circling back to Amulet and reading it again.

Karl Malone, Thursday, 5 July 2018 15:44 (four years ago) link

the character of Auxilio was based off of the story of Alcira Soust Scaffo, who really did remain hidden in a bathroom for 15 days during the military's occupation of the university.

Karl Malone, Thursday, 5 July 2018 15:52 (four years ago) link

two years pass...

Distant Star is fuckin' great.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 28 April 2021 23:16 (one year ago) link

My favorite of his, so haunting and sad.

Been rereading Savage Detectives as well, now that I actually live in Mexico City it's so much fun recognizing all the places! Even the beginning has held up better than I thought, and how the second part gets more and more melancholy and mysterious as time moves on never fails to amaze me.

groovemaaan, Thursday, 29 April 2021 00:26 (one year ago) link

Had no idea I needed a novel about Roberto Bolaño, but holy shit, LAST WORDS ON EARTH by Javier Serena, translated by Katie Whittemore, coming from @open_letter this year is 🔥🔥🔥. Anyone who loves Bolaño or understands the uncompromising pursuit of literature will love this.

— Mark Haber (@markhaber713) April 28, 2021

Mark E. Smith died this year. Or, maybe last year. (bernard snowy), Thursday, 29 April 2021 13:12 (one year ago) link

After obsessing over this guy in my 30s, I honestly haven't thought much about him in a while. Mostly due to starting a family, but I also just burned out on him a bit. I should revisit one of his novellas. My favorite Bolano character type is the old friend/acquaintance who reappears in your life in an almost menacing way, now adrift and depressed, mumbling dark things to himself.

Heez, Thursday, 29 April 2021 15:30 (one year ago) link

has much in common with Sebald in that respect

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 April 2021 15:30 (one year ago) link

found out that a friend of mines parents are depicted in the savage detectives, in the first part of the book theyre part of the artistic milieu like a sculptor and... something, been a while since i read the book, and since he told me lol, not a close friend

lag∞n, Thursday, 29 April 2021 16:29 (one year ago) link


So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 April 2021 16:30 (one year ago) link


lag∞n, Thursday, 29 April 2021 16:30 (one year ago) link

Is that the foul-mouthed American woman?

keto keto bonito v industry plant-based diet (PBKR), Thursday, 29 April 2021 16:37 (one year ago) link

yeah must be i know one of his parents is american

lag∞n, Thursday, 29 April 2021 17:28 (one year ago) link

nine months pass...

finishing up Distant Star rn, pretty good! I do like the concept of "how do you process it when someone in your little arts circle becomes a politically aligned psychotic murderer," because I am thinking of similar things now that I recently found out that someone I grew up with created a giant company that does new slavery or whatever.

for some reason this book is kinda reading like a musical to me, where things are happening in a semi-realistic way or whatever and then suddenly the plot takes off on these (kinda corny) flights of fancies and then comes down (like the skywriting poetry, or the the torture photography exhibit or w/e). Anyway, I tried to read him like 10-15 years ago and thought he was pretty overrated, couldn't get through anything, now I'm having a good time reading this book, not sure why. 10-15 years ago I was able to dive into Marias and Sebald and other more "it helps to be divorced to get it" authors, but whatever it's nice to have something to be into now.

Bongo Jongus, Sunday, 6 February 2022 20:20 (seven months ago) link

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