Roberto Bolano and the Earthquake in Chile

By Jason Boog Comment

2666.jpgToday The Takeaway quoted Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño in their coverage of the powerful earthquake in Chile–imagining his prose would offer “some comfort to the people of Chile.”

The late novelist once wrote: “Sometimes the earth shakes…The epicenter of the quake is somewhere in the north or the south, but I can still hear the shaking. Sometimes I feel dizzy. Sometimes the quake goes on for longer than usual and people take shelter under doorways or under stairs or they rush out into the streets. Is there a solution?”

If you want to help the people of Chile, the Red Cross has more resources and information about donations. As we keep Chile in our thoughts, here are a few more links to help you explore the work of one of the country’s greatest writers.

New York magazine reviewed his great novel, 2666: “The heart of 2666 is its fourth and longest section, called simply ‘The Part About the Crimes.’ It is, flat out, one of the best stretches of fiction I’ve ever read. I broke my pencil several times writing catatonically enthusiastic marginalia … Although he’s clearly outraged by the culture of misogyny, exploitation, and indifference that enables the killing, he refuses to load the fictional dice.”

Here’s a Believer essay about his life and work: “And, of course, what Bolaño is doing is laughing at the idea of writers–writers of any nationality or galaxy–getting together to talk about literature. In Bolaño’s opinion–then and always–literature should inhabit books, not bars. From which it follows that the only protagonist of Bolaño’s work–the authentic heroine of his books–is literature itself.”

Finally, The Quarterly Conversation reviewed The Skating Rink: “There is no rational solution to the crime–Bolaño has the murderer explicitly admit this—and there is no rational solution to this labyrinth of a book. The search is all. Though there are beautiful, potent moments rich with emotion, the meaning that should exist within these moments is deferred again and again, the senselessness of this one small act of violence comes to counterpoint and haunt the senselessness of life and atrocity.”

Want more reviews? Follow this link to download the February 2010 print edition of GalleyCat Reviews–one month worth of criticism and literary links.