4 June 2012

Roberto Bolaño, Last Evenings on Earth, 2008

This is a combined edition of two previously released Spanish collections. These insightful stories are all anecdotal and semi-autobiographical but also mostly told in the third person, which inevitably engenders a small aura of mystery about Bolaño himself in the mind of the reader. Bolaño’s subject matter is, as usual, mostly literary: obscure South American poets, Chilean political exiles, Mexican or Spanish settings, reminiscences of lost friends, and left wing writers who like the narrator himself are all living at the far margins of the arts. Bolaño also speaks with consistency: he always writes as if relating the story by voice rather than written words and his story structure is such that you never know quite where he will end up, but wherever it is it’s usually on the cusp of what would be another story, and the endings are often abrupt. It’s impossible to pin down a favourite; they somehow blur together but are all equally very well told. A completely enchanting collection.  PY


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