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In the Sonora

Benjamin Kunkel: Roberto Bolaño

6 September 2007
The Savage Detectives 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Picador, 577 pp., £16.99, July 2007, 978 0 330 44514 6
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Last Evenings on Earth 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
Harvill, 277 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 84343 181 7
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Amulet 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
New Directions, 184 pp., $21.95, January 2007, 978 0 8112 1664 7
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... career brought him into contact with well-spoken people and his poverty into contact with the poor. But in The Savage Detectives he doesn’t overdo the local colour, which his superb translator NatashaWimmer in any case wisely ignores. The narrators are individuated above all through our sense of the helpless particularity of their fates; and to the extent that they sound alike, this is explained ...

More like a Cemetery

Michael Wood: The Part about Bolaño

26 February 2009
Nazi Literature in the Americas 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
New Directions, 227 pp., £17.95, May 2008, 978 0 8112 1705 7
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2666 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Picador, 898 pp., £20, January 2009, 978 0 330 44742 3
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... Roberto Bolaño likes to prolong his jokes well past the moment when even the slowest reader has got the point. Nazi Literature in the Americas, for example, looks like a single gag – the brief deadpan biography of an imaginary Fascist or near Fascist writer – multiplied by 30-odd cases over 200 pages. But then it dawns on even the slowest reader that what looked like the point wasn’t the point ...

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