Bolaño Dia 2013
April 25, 2013 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Sunday, April 28, would have been Roberto Bolaño's 60th birthday. The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona is holding an event that day, in conjunction with their recent exhibit of Bolaño's archive, to celebrate the life and work of the writer. Or if you're not in Barcelona, the celebration is #DiaBolaño on twitter.

More about the exhibit, which opened last month, and includes things like Bolaño's typewriters, glasses, and manuscripts.

A description of the exhibit (in German) with more photos of Bolaño's papers and effects.

The exhibit runs until June 30, so there's still time to go to Barcelona.
posted by mattbucher (10 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I absolutely adore Bolaño, but in retrospect I think I did a pretty poor job of reading both 2666 and The Savage Detectives because I didn't really have a context to plug them into, for various definitions of context. If anyone wants to read Bolaño or has read Bolaño or has heard of Bolaño or hasn't heard of Bolaño, By Night In Chile serves, for me at least, as the key which unlocks all of the obsessions and movements and various artists' travails in all his other works. Absolutely absolutely read By Night In Chile. I don't know if it's his best book, but I think it's the most essential to approaching the rest.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:05 PM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Having read By Night In Chile, I'm curious why you think that. Not disputing you, I just didn't receive any kind of eureka unlocking moment from it...
posted by naju at 2:08 PM on April 25, 2013


I absolutely adore Bolaño, but in retrospect I think I did a pretty poor job of reading both 2666 and The Savage Detectives because I didn't really have a context to plug them into, for various definitions of context.

You know, I think I actually liked The Savage Detectives better when I didn't have context. I mean, I still liked it, but it was kind of a comedown to find out how autobiographical it was; I liked it better as raw imagination.
posted by COBRA! at 2:09 PM on April 25, 2013


Having read By Night In Chile, I'm curious why you think that. Not disputing you, I just didn't receive any kind of eureka unlocking moment from it...

Oh, sorry, didn't mean to be mysterious or anything, it's just that By Night In Chile lays out a pretty clear idea of what responsibilities artists have to political realities, which after reading it made a lot of things from his other works click into place for me (particularly the emphasis on the murders in Santa Teresa in 2666 while various writers flit about in the margins).
posted by shakespeherian at 2:12 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


OR as Stacey D'Erasmo put in the NYT,
But what can it mean, he asks us and himself, in his dark, extraordinary, stinging novella “By Night in Chile,” that the intellectual elite can write poetry, paint and discuss the finer points of avant-garde theater as the junta tortures people in basements? The word has no national loyalty, no fundamental political bent; it’s a genie that can be summoned by any would-be master. Part of Bolaño’s genius is to ask, via ironies so sharp you can cut your hands on his pages, if we perhaps find a too-easy comfort in art, if we use it as anesthetic, excuse and hide-out in a world that is very busy doing very real things to very real human beings. Is it courageous to read Plato during a military coup or is it something else?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:16 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


particularly the emphasis on the murders in Santa Teresa in 2666 while various writers flit about in the margins

I thought that was made pretty apparent by the way the five "books" are structured. You open with critics hunting for a writer, landing in Santa Teresa and obsessing over all sorts of tripe, and slowly spiral in towards the city, pulling out at the last moment to see the writer in question and realize how much of his writing is influenced by this reality which the critics blinded themselves to.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:25 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Only tangentially related, but the deliciously tongue in cheek Notes Toward a Film Adaptation of Roberto Bolaño’s "2666" came across my feeds yesterday/today.

It is manifestly what György Lukács, creator of the Star Wars franchise, called 'the epic of an age in which the extensive totality of life is no longer directly given…yet which still thinks in terms of totality."
posted by juv3nal at 2:29 PM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am a constant reader. After finishing 2666, I could not grab another book to read for at least 2 months. It was so good that I did not want other book to spoil the greatness of 2666.
posted by dov3 at 2:33 PM on April 25, 2013


The first Bolaño I read was The Savage Detectives. If I could go back, I'd still start there. I resolve to celebrate Bolaño Day by actually getting around to 2666.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:47 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


This bit from juv3nal's link -
The deep correlation between writers and criminals will not be lost on any longtime reader of Bolaño. He writes “All criticism is ultimately a nightmare,” but might all criticism also be a conspiracy? In love and literature, Morini, Espinoza and Pelletier are treacherous as the Second Triumvirate. As Espinoza tells us, “This could all end in a hail of bullets.” Once the director, whosoever he may be, designates to consign his film’s first part within the framework of Caesar Must Die, the chain of associations will come flooding to the surface. I would like to bring to light just one. In “The Part About the Critics,” the obsessed dreamer Pelletier is warned to “Beware of the Medusa.” This line appears to be a non-sequitur or else another of Bolaño’s deliberate misdirections. That is, until one considers that the famous sculpture of Perseus holding the Gorgon’s head aloft was made by Benvenuto Cellini, born in Italy in 1500. If 2666 is the apocalyptic novel some have called it, 1500 must be the Ides of Anno Domini. What’s more, Cellini’s closest contemporary was none other than the painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Arcimboldo, Archimboldi; a telling transposition. Virtually the same, yet not. This could still seem idle speculation rather than ordained proof of two mediums touching fingertips, except that it is impossible to think of Benvenuto Cellini without thinking of Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, in which prisoners pretend to be masters and the true slaves their jailers. (You will recall that the captain of the slaves, Benito Cereno himself, is a Chilean.) But Melville is done one better by Archimboldi—not the writer, nor still the painter, but the ingenious and invisible director—who has prisoners pretending to be actors who are, in the secret “inner” film between frames, also critics.
is hilarious and reminds me of this.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:00 PM on April 25, 2013


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