Hitching the Bolañowagon
Chad and EJ over at Three Percent have been hyping the Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño to the point where I have been unable to resist going off to read something about his work. Most interesting to this unreconstructed lover of massive novels is news that his giant, posthumously published novel 2666 is about to appear. Together with Jonathan Littel's Les Bienveillantes, this must be one of the most anticipated translations of the year. An excellent introductory essay on Bolaño's work is Natasha Wimmer, "Roberto Bolaño and The Savage Detectives" [PDF], from which the following quotes are extracted.
According to his mother, he taught himself to read when he was only three, and he wrote his first story when he was seven, about some chickens who, to the consternation of the other barnyard animals, fall in love with a duck. Together with his best friend, Mario Santiago, the Chilean poet Bruno Montane, and their few dozen followers, Bolaño disrupted the readings of poets whom they held in contempt, shouting out their own poems. "The scorn I felt for so-called official literature was enormous, though only a little greater than that I felt for marginal literature". "Listen: I don't have anything against autobiographies, so long as the people writing them have penises that are at least a foot long when erect".
Links to reviews of The Savage Detectives are available over at Complete Review. I think I'm going to have to read this once I am done (finally) with The Recognitions and Marilynne Robinson's Gilead. Hail the summer. More here when.