November 9, 2008 |
There is an unwittingly funny passage in the Spanish edition of Ignacio Echevarria's introduction to "El Secreto del Mal," a still-untranslated collection of Roberto Bolano's stories, a passage that could easily have been cribbed from one of Jorge Luis Borges' metafictions or, more to the point, from one of Bolano's. Echevarria observes that Bolano's work is "governed by a poetics of incompleteness." Bolano tends to interrupt his stories with other stories, and those with other tales in turn.
July 2, 2008 |
I SHOULD have been suspicious when my husband, Fred, offered, oh so sweetly, to carry my suitcase out to the car. We were heading to the East Coast to spend 10 days cooking and eating and lazing at our friend Mary's Long Island house. Fred not only checked my bag for me, he also took charge of it once we'd picked it up at the other end. It briefly crossed my mind that he was up to something. But if he was having a rush of gallantry, I thought I might as well enjoy it. He even wheeled my suitcase into the elevator of Mary's apartment building when we got to New York and installed it in the guest bedroom.
April 22, 2007
SOME critics have said that Kurt Vonnegut's writing was not literature because it was so accessible. In Sunday's Calendar, there was an article about Roberto Bolano, who has been receiving a lot of attention lately ["Way Beyond Magical Realism," April 15]. I have read most of Vonnegut's novels and enjoyed the writing and his messages. I tried to read "The Savage Detectives" and found it to be completely unreadable, thoroughly pretentious and incomprehensible. What is the point of great writing if we can't slog through it?
April 8, 2007 |
ROBERTO BOLANO'S "The Savage Detectives" is a deeply satisfying, yet overwhelming reading experience. Ostensibly about two poets and their search for another poet who has mysteriously disappeared, the novel becomes nothing less than a broad portrait of the Hispanic diaspora, spreading from Central and South America to Israel, Europe, Africa and every place in between, from the late 1960s through the 1990s.
July 16, 2006 |
READING any story in the collection "Last Evenings on Earth" is like listening to a late-night confession from a stranger in a bar, but with a twist: The confession isn't his own. Typical Roberto Bolano narrators always tell someone else's story, although in the process they reveal, sometimes deliberately, sometimes unwittingly, fragments of their own private darkness. Bolano's personal history is one of exile.
January 31, 2005 |
Roberto BOLANO left behind stories and poetry, as well as a handful of extraordinary novels, when he died at 50 in July 2003. Yet in Latin America, the Chilean exile's work isn't widely known. This is a pity because in my estimation he is by far the most exciting writer to come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time. Of left-wing persuasion, Bolano was concerned with the ins and outs of Chile's extreme political right.
December 14, 2003 |
In his deathbed agony, Chilean Catholic priest Sebastian Urrutia Lacroix rightly figures he's got a lot of explaining to do if he wants to clear his conscience. His nightlong confession, a hallucinatory, wildly veering, surreal rant that spins from Spain to Santiago to his encounters with communist Pablo Neruda and Nazi sympathizer Ernst Junger, sometimes strays but is never less than mesmerizing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 21, 2003 |
Roberto Bolano, 50, a high school dropout who became one of Chile's most respected writers, died Tuesday of liver disease. Bolano, who had lived in Spain since 1977, died in a Barcelona hospital as he awaited a transplant, said local officials in Blanes, the Spanish town where he lived. Bolano lived in Mexico in the late 1960s. In 1972, he returned to Chile, but he was forced to flee when Gen. Augusto Pinochet seized power the following year.