Writer Alberto Manguel is certainly a critic to be taken seriously. In reader-unfriendly times he has stuck up for reading as an indispensable act of pleasure. He has also written well about Spanish-language literature, and has even written his own successful novels.
But that just makes some of the odd statements in his review of Nazi Literature in the Americas less comprehensible. I’m going to pass right over his critique of Nazi Lit since it’s the least troubling part of his review, although I will say that it in large part amounts to “why didn’t you write . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The Barnes & Noble Review has just published my piece on two new Bolano books, Monsieur Pain and Roberto Bolano: The Last Interview.
If you’ve become a Bolano fan, they’re both well worth your time (and, well, they’re both worth your time if you have yet to become a Bolano fan too). As I remark in the piece, they keep on publishing more Bolano and it keeps being of very high quality. The depth of his work is extremely impressive.
Here’s a quote from the piece, which contains a hilarious Bolano-take on Paz and Fuentes:
His musings . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Words Without Borders covers the the Madmen, Exiles, and Savage Detectives: Latin American Poetry panel:
I was late to the Madmen, Exiles, and Savage Detectives: Latin American Poetry panel at the Philoctetes Center this Tuesday. I was late because I was puttering around the fourth floor poetry section at the Barnes and Noble in Union Square here in New York City. Among the shelves, out of place, was a book which has nothing to do with Latin American Poets, but everything to do with translation and so I thought you’d find it interesting, as I did. You . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Paper Cuts excerpts a hilarious Bolano interview from the new Melville House title Roberto Bolano: The Last Interview: And Other Conversations.
Why hilarious? To wit:
M.M.: Have you shed one tear about the widespread criticism you’ve drawn from your enemies?
R.B.: Lots and lots. Every time I read that someone has spoken badly of me I begin to cry, I drag myself across the floor, I scratch myself, I stop writing indefinitely, I lose my appetite, I smoke less, I engage in sport, I go for walks on the edge of the sea, which by the . . . continue reading, and add your comments
One of Bolano’s never-published manuscripts, El tercer Reich, will be published in the U.S. in Spanish by Vintage. (Anagrama is already publishing it in Spain.) I suppose this makes good business sense, since Bolano is still hot and there’s a large Spanish-reading population in this nation.
I’m at least curious to read this book. I was originally of the opinion that it probably wouldn’t be very good, but Natasha Wimmer, who is doing the translation into English, is of the opinion that it’s a good novel. So.
Jorge Volpi returns with an all-Bolano installment 3 of his essay on Latin American lit at Three Percent. It’s an interesting piece well worth reading. Volpi starts out with a sanguine take on what Bolano has become here:
I do not believe, as some Spanish critics and even some of his friends do, that the American Bolaño is a falsification, a marketing product, a forced reinvention, or a simple misunderstanding: on the contrary, maybe the power of his texts lives in the diverse interpretations, sometimes contrasting or opposed, that it is possible to extract from his . . . continue reading, and add your comments
No, this isn't another reset of the Bolano/heroin thread. Rather, Chad Post makes a good addition to the Bolano myth discussion from last week. He notes some Latin American writers contra Bolano that are generally getting ignored:
Post-Garcia Marquez, it’s been near impossible for a non-magical realist from south of our borders to get published in America. A certain Isabel Allende-tainted vision of what “counted” as good Latin American literature came into being, and anything that didn’t fit that mold wasn’t marketable.
The “Crack group” (Jorge Volpi, Eloy Urroz, Ignacio Padilla, etc.) rose up . . . continue reading, and add your comments
My Bolano pick for this list–By Night in Chile–gets mentioned here.
Not too many novels can legitimately claim the adjective perfect, but I think this one has a strong, strong claim to that word. It's a well wrought work, a book that reads like a series of story-like digressions imperceptibly linked, ordered, and devised by the threads of a fallible human consciousness, and it's poignant, weighty, and very, very readable. It's the kind of book that can turn on your interpretation of just one word.
The Children's Hospital is also there, which didn't make my list . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I'm not sure I can translate this properly, but this has to be one of the best lines I've read recently:
El mercado tiene dueños, como todo en este infecto planeta, y son los dueños del mercado quienes deciden el mambo que se baila, se trate de vender condones baratos o novelas latinoamericanas en Estados Unidos.
This line comes in conjunction with a very acidic essay that novelist Horacio Castellanos Moya has written on the "Bolano Myth" (published in the Argentina newspaper La Nacion). The following line explains what moved Moya to such a statement (partial . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Just wanted to point to my short interview with Natasha Wimmer available here, mostly because she talks about the Bolano books she’s currently translating, and you know how this site is with links to meaty info on Bolano books.
If El Tercer Reich is as good as she implies, I might just have to re-think my stance on these posthumous manuscripts . . .