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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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by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
New Directions, 184 pp., $21.95, January 2007, 978 0 8112 1664 7
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... RobertoBolaño was born in Santiago de Chile in 1953, moved with his family to Mexico City at the age of 15, and was inspired by the election of Salvador Allende to return to his native country five years later. In ...

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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by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Picador, 898 pp., £20, January 2009, 978 0 330 44742 3
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... RobertoBolaño 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 ...


Christopher Tayler: Aleksandar Hemon

23 May 2013
The Book of My Lives 
by Aleksandar Hemon.
Picador, 224 pp., £20, March 2013, 978 1 4472 1090 0
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... in 1997, he’d started publishing stories in American magazines, reworking old material to begin with (‘The Life and Work of Alphonse Kauders’, an absurdist recitation pitched somewhere between RobertoBolaño and Chris Morris, was dreamed up for radio in 1988) but later addressing his displaced existence. The Question of Bruno (2000) and Nowhere Man (2002) made him something more than a name to ...


Michael Wood: Di Benedetto’s Style

5 April 2018
by Antonio Di Benedetto, translated by Esther Allen.
NYRB, 198 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 1 59017 717 4
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Nest in the Bones 
by Antonio Di Benedetto, translated by Martina Broner.
Archipelago, 275 pp., £15.99, May 2017, 978 0 914671 72 5
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... did not fire. He lived in exile in Europe between 1977 and 1984. He published five novels and six collections of short stories. He appears as a character called Sensini in a story of that name by RobertoBolaño, collected in a volume appropriately titled Last Evenings on Earth (2007). The books under review give English-speaking readers a good chance to catch up – an ideal chance, we could say ...

Not to Be Read without Shuddering

Adam Smyth: The Atheist’s Bible

20 February 2014
The Atheist’s Bible: The Most Dangerous Book That Never Existed 
by Georges Minois, translated by Lys Ann Weiss.
Chicago, 249 pp., £21, October 2012, 978 0 226 53029 1
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... of every book into all books. There is a long tradition of writing about books that do not exist, often with bibliographical exactness: it continues in the fictions of Italo Calvino, Douglas Adams, RobertoBolaño and Mark Z. Danielewski, among many others. The Polish science fiction writer and author of Solaris, Stanisław Lem, wrote long introductions to four imaginary books in Imaginary Magnitude ...


Fredric Jameson

8 November 2018
My Struggle: Book 6. The End 
by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated by Martin Aitken and Don Bartlett.
Harvill Secker, 1153 pp., £25, August 2018, 978 1 84655 829 0
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... do seem to be reading it and that it has been translated into more than thirty languages around the world and has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and become a literary sensation, on the order of RobertoBolaño or Elena Ferrante (both also somewhat autobiographical, it should be added). So the more satisfactory response would be to take a poll (preferably worldwide) and find out what its readers ...

Enrique of the Silver Tongue

Christopher Tayler: A ‘Novel without Fiction’

22 March 2018
The Impostor 
by Javier Cercas, translated by Frank Wynne.
MacLehose Press, 429 pp., £20, November 2017, 978 0 85705 650 4
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... in Soldiers of Salamis (2001), the novel that made his name. Written as a pseudo-memoir or pseudo-investigation – the Cercas figure is researching a historical incident with help from his friend RobertoBolaño – this played with the line between fact and fiction as a way of getting around the difficulties that stood between Spanish novelists and the story of the Civil War. Those difficulties were ...

Lost in the Void

Jonathan Littell: In Ciudad Juárez

7 June 2012
... of why unknown persons saw fit to immerse José Gallegos’s head in acid. In subsequent issues of PM, his photo will be replaced by photos of other corpses. ‘What drives people crazy,’ Roberto Alvarez Gutiérez, a municipal police officer, explains, ‘is that there’s no follow-up. The files pile up and nothing is resolved. Sometimes mothers have to carry out their own investigations ...

The Feminisation of Chile

Lorna Scott Fox: Return to Santiago

14 December 2006
... but the serious art world is tiny, dominated by the generation of the 1970s and 1980s, who cold-shoulder any approach that isn’t politically engaged. Chile’s one great contemporary writer, RobertoBolaño, who died in 2003, stayed away after the end of the dictatorship. It is the business of a younger generation to find the idiom for a modern Chilean culture; I heard of uptown kids rapping ...
4 May 2016
M Train 
by Patti Smith.
Bloomsbury, 253 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 1 4088 6768 6
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Collected Lyrics 1970-2015 
by Patti Smith.
Bloomsbury, 303 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 1 4088 6300 8
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... of remembrance’: is our allegorical leg being pulled here just a bit? And is it just coincidence that nestling in her book bag are authors such as W.G. Sebald, César Aira, Haruki Murakami, RobertoBolaño, Enrique Vila-Matas and others, writers who purposively smudge the line between memoir and fiction? M Train, with its dot-dash series of woozy photographs, even looks like a Sebald text, and ...

The Deaths Map

Jeremy Harding: At the Mexican Border

20 October 2011
... by security at the capitol buildings, and dragged out by the hair. A journalist asked her for a contact number but she’d used her cellphone to film the fracas and it had been confiscated. In RobertoBolaño’s novel 2666, a TV talk-show host watches enviously as a rival on Tijuana TV interviews a doomed cross-border veteran who holds ‘the record for most expulsions from the United States ...

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