The essays of Roberto Bolano in English at last.

Between Parentheses collects most of the newspaper columns and articles Bolano wrote during the last five years of his life, as well as the texts of some of his speeches and talks and a few scattered prologues. “Taken together,” as the editor Ignacio Echevarría remarks in his introduction, they provide “a personal cartography of the writer: the closest thing, among all his writings, to a kind of fragmented ‘autobiography.’” Bolano’s career as a nonfiction writer began in 1998, the year he became famous overnight for The Savage Detectives; he was suddenly in demand for articles and speeches, and he took to this new vocation like a duck to water. Cantankerous, irreverent, and insufferably opinionated, Bolano also could be tender (about his family and favorite places) as well as a fierce advocate for his heroes (Borges, Cortázar, Parra) and his favorite contemporaries, whose books he read assiduously and promoted generously. A demanding critic, he declares that in his “ideal literary kitchen there lives a warrior”: he argues for courage, and especially for bravery in the face of failure. Between Parentheses fully lives up to his own demands: “I ask for creativity from literary criticism, creativity at all levels.”

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This article has 3 comments

  1. Michael J. Ettner

    “Books are the only homeland of the true writer.” This collection of non-fiction pieces is a treasure-trove for anyone who has read Bolaño’s fiction and who came away smitten by the author’s full-blooded, mercurial, poetic voice.Seasoned readers of this author can comfortably enter and enjoy the world of these essays, speeches, newspaper columns, travel articles and other occasional pieces. This is because many elements of Bolaño’s novels and stories — their settings, aspects of their storylines, their narrators or…

  2. Wirklich Verrukt

    It takes one to know one? For a few years after his tragic death (finally having reached the top of the transplant list, he died of liver failure) the image of Bolano was of a man who had lived in exile, far from his native Chile, working as a laborer on the coast of Spain and writing all night to provide some support for his children, after what had come to seem his inevitable demise. Of course such romantic images of the artist rarely turn out to be accurate. In fact, between his poems and novels, Bolano did what most…

  3. Didaskalex

    “Between Parentheses” does little, if any, to interpret Roberto Bolaño ****”Between Parentheses, which has been adroitly translated by Natasha Wimmer, covers a lot of acreage. There are crunchy bits of autobiography, political laments, disquisitions on food and soccer and women and exile and keeping airplanes afloat with your mind.” — Dwight Garner, The NY TimesRoberto Bolaño, is one of the greatest South American authors of our generation, who gained a widespread reputation in Latin literature with his novel, “The Savage Detectives”. He…

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