"The inseparable dangers of life and literature, and the relationship of life to literature, were the constant themes of Bolaño's writings and also of his life, as he defiantly and even improbably chose to live it. By the end of that life, Bolaño had written three story collections and ten novels. The last of these novels, 2666, was not quite finished when he died of liver failure in 2003, which did not prevent many readers and critics from considering it his masterwork. It is an often shockingly raunchy and violent tour de force (though the phrase seems hardly adequate to describe the novel's narrative velocity, polyphonic range, inventiveness, and bravery) based in part on the still unsolved murders of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juárez, in the Sonora desert of Mexico near the Texas border. (2666 is currently being translated into English and is due to be published next year by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.)
Yet the writer with whom Spanish-language critics have often compared Bolaño is the Argentine Jorge Luis Borges, renowned for his singular bookishness, and for the metaphysical playfulness, erudition, and brevity of his entirely asexual writings. With those comparisons critics have wanted, partly, to emphasize their sense of Bolaño's significance, for Borges is probably the only Latin American writer of the past century whose greatness seems uncontested by anybody, though the more you read Bolaño, the more interesting and appropriate the comparison between the two writers becomes. Bolaño revered Borges ("I could live under a table reading Borges"). He would have been happy, Bolaño told an interviewer, to have led a life like Borges's—relatively sedentary, devoted to literature and a small circle of like-minded friends, "a happy life." But Bolaño lived most of his life in another manner. "My life," he said, "has been infinitely more savage than Borges's."
Extracted from The New York Review of Books, July 19, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Posted by Alberto Bruzos at 10:21 PM
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Ah! Time off of work.
One benefit about being on a day off, (with the exception of sleeping in) is doing whatever you want to. Of course, there are endless options on your day off, unless you live in Egypt and you happen to be female.....but I digress. If you are an alcoholic, this means a day of binge drinking and self-loathing. If you are athletic, you can opt for working out while the sun is out. Perhaps it's a real (not fiction) sick day. Congratulations, you've managed to call in sick relatively near the time you were supposed to get to work. In between passing out because of getting trashed on NyQuil or Robitussen, you may be dopey enough to flip on the boob tube. Those without cable will soon realize that this is a very bad idea. Daytime TV should preferably be avoided at all costs. It's redundant to say that there are soap operas but a myriad of talk shows that are ever multiplying and dying off at an alarming rate. When I was younger and my entertainment choices were not as mature, I watched Days of Our Lives. I watched for about a year in Junior High. Apparently, nothing has changed in the show. There seems to be the same cast, same plot lines but they are cadaverous and fully Botoxed. A show called "Passions" featured, to my horror, a doll that came to life and served as a toady to some overacting "witch" who was trying to poison her niece. One scene involved a tea party, with doll in tow. The niece and her unassuming boyfriend were drinking tea and talking with the ....older woman. There was a lot of stress with the older woman. She'd carry the doll out, he'd come to life, she'd yell at him, etc etc. The doll's occupation was to poison a petit four and the niece would eat it at tea. That was the plan was thwarted as, who would really eat a petit four anyway, whatever they are.... The word "petit four" was screamed and screeched about fifteen time in succession. The doll that came to life was actor and little person Josh Evans, pictured above.
hearing the word petit four screaming by a little person was just more than I could handle, frankly. In desperation, I changed the channel to what ended up being Jerry Springer to witness the "I'm schtupping a stripper" episode and the audience members (who were not strippers, should never BE strippers, and are in the big group of people who should just go ahead and keep their clothes ON) were flashing Jerry for beads, a la Mardi Gras. I landed on a local car dealership commercial that was poorly produced and filmed in low-definition video.
Such deep regret.
I'm still trying to recover from it. After the years of intense counselling, I'm optomistic that I'll be ok.
In the meantime, I think I'll take up reading literature again.
Posted by Jody Draws at 12:45 AM