Between Parentheses by Roberto Bolaño
Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998-2003

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Beyond dispute is Bolaño’s literary innovation. His own peculiar realism sweeps aside the labour of authenticating details, and relies on hesitancy, dazzling pacing and an incredulity towards his own odd narratives.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

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.”
 

About Roberto Bolaño

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Author of 2666 and many other acclaimed works, Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) was born in Santiago, Chile, and later lived in Mexico, Paris, and Spain. He has been acclaimed “by far the most exciting writer to come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time” (Ilan Stavans, The Los Angeles Times),” and as “the real thing and the rarest” (Susan Sontag). Among his many prizes are the extremely prestigious Herralde de Novela Award and the Premio Rómulo Gallegos. He was widely considered to be the greatest Latin American writer of his generation. He wrote nine novels, two story collections, and five books of poetry, before dying in July 2003 at the age of 50. The poet Chris Andrews has translated many books by Roberto Bolaño and César Aira for New Directions.
 
Published May 30, 2011 by New Directions. 401 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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National Post arts

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Reviewed by Moez Surani on Jun 10 2011

Beyond dispute is Bolaño’s literary innovation. His own peculiar realism sweeps aside the labour of authenticating details, and relies on hesitancy, dazzling pacing and an incredulity towards his own odd narratives.

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