miércoles, 1 de abril de 2015

Introduction to Roberto Bolaño, a Less Distant Star: Critical Essays. Palgrave Macmillan Publishing, 2015.

Introduction to Roberto Bolaño, a Less Distant Star: Critical Essays. Palgrave Macmillan Publishing, 2015.

For a printed version click here

Ignacio López-Calvo
University of California, Merced
            Roberto Bolaño, Closer to a Distant Star includes several critical essays ordered not chronologically but according to literary genre, and a preface by the Indian author Siddhartha Deb (1970-) titled "On Roberto Bolaño." These essays cover many of the world-renowned Chilean author Roberto Bolaño's (1953-2003) twenty publications, with a special emphasis on his masterpieces: 2666 (2004), Los detectives salvajes (The Savage Detectives, 1998), Nocturno de Chile (By Night in Chile, 2000), and Estrella distante (Distant Star, 1996). 
The Chilean writer has attained a mythical stature in a relatively short time (since the publication in 1996 of La literatura nazi en América [Nazi Literature in the Americas]), often being considered the most influential Latin American writer of his generation by critics such as Susan Sontag and by several fellow writers. Wilfrido H. Corral, for example, describes him as "one of the few novelists of the twentieth century who escaped their own time."[1] In spite of the interest generated by Bolaño's oeuvre in the United States, however, to my knowledge this is the first English-language volume of essays on his works. There is, however, a collection of interviews and conversations published by  


Although Bolaño is best known for his novels (he won the Herralde Award, the Rómulo Gallegos Award, and the Chilean Consejo Nacional del Libro Award for Los detectives salvajes in 1999 and, posthumously, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for 2666
in 2008), he also wrote short stories, poems, and essays. His short stories appeared in the collections Llamadas telefónicas (1997) and Putas asesinas (2001), some of which were included in the English translations Last Evenings on Earth (2007) and The Return (1010), El gaucho insufrible (The Insufferable Gaucho; 2003), and El secreto del mal (The Secret of Evil, 2012). Before dying, Bolaño left several manuscripts ready for publication, in separate folders and with his wife's knowledge. This led to the posthumous publication of the novels El Tercer Reich (The Third Reich, 2010; it is unclear, however, whether he wanted to publish this novel) and Los sinsabores del verdadero policía (Woes of the True Policemani, 2011), as well as the aforementioned short-story collection El secreto del mal. Many of his essays, where one can find, among many other topics, his strong (at times irreverent) opinions on world literature, have been collected in the fascinating 2004 volume Entre paréntesis. Ensayos, artículos y discursos (1998-2003) (Between Parentheses. Essays, Articles, and Speeches, [1998-2003]), edited by Ignacio Echevarría. Many other texts in the unpublished archive of 14,374 pages of this prolific writer, including, among other documents, four novels, twenty-six short stories, poetry, are yet to be published.

            Born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953, he lived in Quilpué, Cauquenes, Viña del Mar, and Los Ángeles (in the province of Bío Bío), before his family moved to Mexico City when he was fifteen years old, the year of the Tlatelolco massacre. In Mexico, he worked as a journalist and became first a Trotskyist and then an anarchist. He stopped studying at age seventeen, before finishing high school. In 1973, Bolaño briefly returned to Chile, travelling by land, to support Salvador Allende's socialist regime, only to end up spending eight days in prison after Augusto Pinochet's 1973 coup. He admits in an interview with Eliseo Álvarez: "When I returned to Chile, shortly before the coup, I believed in armed resistance, I believed in permanent revolution. I believed it existed then. I came back ready to fight in Chile and to continue fighting in Peru, in Bolivia" (76-77). He was lucky enough to be rescued by two former classmates who had become prison guards. Allegedly, the following year he spent some time in El Salvador with the poet Roque Dalton and the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional  (The Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front; FMLN), before returning to Mexico in January of 1974. He befriended the poets Mario Santiago y Bruno Montané, with whom he founded, in 1975, a minor literary group named Infrarrealismo, which was antagonistic to Octavio Paz and the Mexican poetic establishment at the time. This same year, Bolaño published his first collection of poems, titled Gorriones cogiendo altura. He led a bohemian lifestyle during those years--the life of the poets he admired, which added to his reputation as an non-conformist, a literary enfant terrible, and a provocateur. Some of these adventures as a youth in Mexico are reflected in Los detectives salvajes and other works.

            In 1997, Bolaño left Mexico. He travelled through Africa, France, and Spain, finally settling in Catalonia, Spain, where he married and had different jobs during the day, often writing at night. Although he considered himself a poet (many of his poems were collected in his 2000 collection Los perros románticos [The Romantic Dogs]), he began writing fiction in Spain, after the birth of his son, Lautaro, reportedly to support his family. In 1984, he published his first novel, Consejos de un discípulo de Morrison a un fanático de Joyce (Advice for a Morrison Disciple from a Joyce Fanatic), in collaboration with Antoni García Porta, for which they were awarded the Ámbitu Literario de Narrativa Prize in Barcelona. Two years later, he moved to Blanes, Girona, where he wrote his most important works. He lived in this town until his liver failure led to an untimely death in Barcelona in 2003 (eleven years after finding out about his health problems), while he was waiting for a liver transplant.

            Like Julio Cortázar's 1963 novel Rayuela (Hopscotch), different types of both successful and aspiring, marginal writers and intellectuals populate Bolaño's fiction, which often deals with the role of literature in life and of literary culture/writers in society and under repressive governments. And like Borges and Cortázar, bookish references and intertextualities are common throughout his oeuvre, including a peculiar emphasis on the trials and tribulations of being a dedicated writer, particularly an aspiring one. Some of his works are an uncensored examination of evil and its possible sources: many of his characters live in a violent Latin American world, where terror is sometimes part of daily (literary) life. Other times, both themes are related: he explores the relationship between violence/crime and literature/art. Not surprisingly, Bolaño once said on Chilean television that "Crime is an art and sometimes art is a crime." Likewise, in the chapter titled "Max Mirebalais," included in La literatura nazi en América, we are told that Mirebalais, wanting to join the world of Haitian oligarchy, "soon realized that there were only two ways to achieve his aim: through violence . . . or through literature, which is a surreptitious form of violence" (127-28). [2] For this reason, Marcela Valdés asserts that "all of Bolaño's mature novels scrutinize how writers react to repressive regimes" (10).

            His literary world, which tends to blend autobiographical experiences with fiction, often flirts with the resources of the detective story and the thriller, even when there are no detectives per se. Some critics and writers, including Jorge Edwards, have also pointed out the similarities of Bolaño's literary world with the picaresque genre. In addition, politics has a central role in part of his literature, as seen with the representation of fascism and Nazism in La literatura nazi en América (Nazi Literature in the Americas), Estrella distante (Distant Star), El Tercer Reich (The Third Reich), and Nocturno de Chile (By Night in Chile). Some of his characters have lost all hope for former utopian projects, the revolution has failed them; now they are simply trying to forget (albeit some continue to fight until the end), while they sale adrift in their life, sometimes finding their only solace in fleeting relationships or in friendship. In this context, Correa points out that the voyage in Bolaño's works "is necessary to track his characters' internal transformation and to defy the culture of conformity through often picaresque resources."[3] The serious topics of violence, politics and literature, however, do not prevent the author from using irony as well as humorous and lighthearted overtones that are reminiscent of the Chilean poet Nicanor Parra, one of the writers whom he admired the most, along with Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar.

            Answering a question about his literature during a 1998 interview with the magazine Ercilla, Bolaño admits that his books are not easy because of the numerous metaliterary references: "And an ideal reader, if I may pretend to have one--even though I don't, is the one who can navigate cultural references."[4] Indeed, literary and cultural references, often in relation to life, crime and evil, abound in his pages. But the difficulty goes beyond the metaliterary, as his fragmented "detective stories" often find no resolution for their problems. As Carlos Labbé points out,

            To understand The Savage Detectives, it is necessary to consider the importance of its      
            inconclusiveness, such as the fact that the narrator looks for the protagonists
            in places they left, interviewing characters who never saw them again. One never manages to
            read Cesárea Tinajero's opus, or knows for sure what took her away from the
            Estridentistas and from Mexico City. It is not possible to read a single poem by Lima and
           Belano to systematize Visceral Realism's aesthetic program or to find an explanation to their
            exile from Mexico. We will never know for sure García Madero's whereabouts.[5]

Readers experience, therefore, a futile search for meaning and closure in some of Bolaño's works. Their curiosity, as if they were the victims of a joke in bad taste, is not satisfied. In a way, readers experience the same sense of failure as many of Bolaño's aspiring (and sometimes mediocre) writers. However, in works such as Distant Star and By Night in Chile criminals are eventually caught and their crimes are uncovered.

Bolaño's influence on new generations of writers has been summarized by Adolfo García Ortega, writer and director of the Spanish press Seix Barral, who recalls some observations during the First Meeting of Latin American Authors in Seville, Spain: "that Borges is perhaps the most influential and prolific writer from the past century for today's Hispanic letters, and that today, equally prolific and influential on the contemporary generation and probably in future ones is . . . Roberto Bolaño."[6] In García Ortega's view, in Los detectives salvajes one can find the soul of the new generation of Latin American writers, "their longings, their quests, their paradoxes, their increasing number, and their long projection in time."[7] Without any doubt, the writers of Bolaño's generation saw originality in his works, they felt that something new was being born, different for the Boom literature and that of their epigons: he had dared to write a new literature, with new structures, games, and concepts. Jorge Volpi actually finds in Bolaño one of the very few points in common among the Latin American writers of his generation: unlike most Latin American authors of previous generations, they all admired him (195).

            Bolaño's passing has only increased the critics and reader's curiosity about his unpublished personal archive, owned by his widow, Carolina López, which contains 14,374 pages (230 original texts), including twenty-six short stories, four novels, numerous poems, and over one thousand letters that he received. Although the publication of some of these texts, perhaps without the author's consent, is a delicate issue, chances are that they will attract renewed critical attention, without necessarily changing the Chilean author's image as a writer. The new Bolañomania or the so-called "Bolaño myth" are ironically reminiscent of the academics and poets in his works, often obsessed with looking for a literary figure. In this context, Sarah Pollack has addressed the reception of Bolaño's works in the United States, in the context of the cultural stereotypes, preconceptions of alterity, and agendas that determine the selection of the very few Latin American novels that are translated into English every year. First, referring to the way this country translates Latin America through The Savage Detectives, she argues that the novel, although it shifts the inevitable association in the United States of magical realism with Latin American literature since the 1970s towards a paradigm of gritty realism, still foments U.S. cultural consumers' prejudice about Latin American culture and politics, and satisfies their collective fantasies:

            Unwittingly—or perhaps with provocative deliberation—The Savage Detectives plays on a
            series of opposing characteristics that the United States has historically employed in defining
            itself vis-à-vis its neighbors to the south: hardworking vs. lazy, mature vs.adolescent,
            responsible vs. reckless, upstanding vs. delinquent. In a nutshell, Sarmiento’s dichotomy, as
            old as Latin America itself: civilization vs. barbarism. Regarded from this standpoint, The
            Savage Detectives is a comfortable choice for U.S. readers, offering both the pleasures of the
            savage and the superiority of the civilized. (362)

Therefore, for
Pollack, the development of the Bolaño myth goes beyond a mere marketing operation by his publishers to reach a readjustment of the image of Latin America for the U.S. market. She also believes that his biography, including his experience during the Pinochet coup in Chile and his untimely death, made him an attractive product for the U.S. reader; yet, she adds, Bolaño wrote his major works when he was a sober family man and an exemplary father. Then, gaining insight into the reasons this image of Latin America sells so well among U.S. readers, she speculates that there are two complementary and appealing messages in The Savage Detectives:

            On the one hand, their buried "adolescent" idealism is indulged as they discover in Latin       
            America and the "Latin American" the prospect of an adventure undertaken in the earnest
            belief of the saving power and transcendental meaning of action and poetry. . . Thanks
            to Bolaño, U.S. readers can vicariously relive the best of the seventies, fascinated with the n
            otion of a Latin America still latent with such possibilities.
                        On the other hand, Bolaño’s novel may be read as a cautionary moral tale that           
           demonstrates the consequences of taking such rebellions too seriously and too far. (361)

            From a different perspective, some readers try to find in both Bolaño's fiction and non-fiction who he really was, wondering, for example, whether he really was a heroin addict, as the first-person narrator claims in "Playa" ("Beach"), a seemingly autobiographical essay first published in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and then included in Entre paréntesis (Between Parentheses). This claim, incidentally, has been refuted by his relatives and friends. In any case, whether it is relevant or not, many of his readers have tried to find the limit that separates Roberto Bolaño from his literary alter-ego, Arturo Belano. By the same token, although some people who knew the Chilean author have questioned whether he really spent eight days in a Chilean prison after Pinochet's coup or met the assassins of Salvadoran poet Roque Dalton in 1974, these episodes have added to Bolaño's mythical aura as a radical rebel, particularly in the United States. And it would not be too far-fetched to think that they probably added respectability and gravitas to his short novels Nocturno de Chile and Estrella distante, which, for the most part, take place in Chile during Pinochet's dictatorship. In any case, as Juan E. De Castro points out, Bolaño does not approach these historic events as the traditional engaged writer:

            Bolaño has provided other writers with an example of how to write about politics in a post-
            political manner. Throughout his novels Bolaño replaces political commitment with ethical
            evaluation. If the image of the Latin American writer as necessarily radical was a caricature
            drawn up by both conservatives and leftists during the 1960s . . . most contemporary novelists
            judge politics from a position akin to that of Bolaño: ethical and beyond any identifiable
            political current or position. (n.p.)

            The legend only grew with the image of an author allegedly writing against the clock to finish 2666, even in detriment of his own health. In a way, Bolaño managed to turn his life into a work of art, as his admired Rimbaud did before him. His writings themselves opened a door to these types of speculations, whenever he reflected on his own phobias, obsessions, or even his fear of mortality, as he seemingly does in "Playa": "and even the old woman was gazing at me . . . maybe wondering who that young man was, that man with silent tears running down his face, a man of thirty-five who had nothing at all but who was recovering his will and his courage and who knew that he would live a while longer" ("Beach" 264).[8] But the true connections between reality and fiction in his literature remain blurred (Corral talks about the "autobiographical traps"[9] of which Bolaño was so fond). After all, as we learn in La literatura nazi en América,  "All poets invent their past"[10] (130). The relevance of these tenuous autobiographical experiences to the understanding of Bolaño's work remains unclear, just like the question about which of his posthumous works were unintentionally left unfinished.

            There is no doubt that the myth about his obsessive writing against the clock of death, his aura as a young poète maudit living in Mexico, his well-known economic difficulties in Spain, and particularly his untimely death have contributed to pick the curiosity of readers. Be it as it may, new publications or biographical findings will probably not change his status as the most influential writer of his generation. Edmundo Paz Soldán shares this view on Bolaño when he talks about "The legend of someone who was at the same time our contemporary and our teacher."[11] Born in Chile, Bolaño considered himself first and foremost a Latin American. In spite of his cosmopolitan, post-national, or extra-territorial (Echevarría. "Bolaño internacional" 188) outlook pointed out by several critics, he was, according to Jorge Volpi (191), the last Latin American writer. And he could certainly claim to be one, having lived in Chile and Mexico, even though most of his published narratives were written in Spain. This is reflected in the easiness with which his characters speak with dialects and slang from Mexico, Chile, or Spain, a nuance that is regrettably lost in the English translations of his works.

            Bolaño is also well known for having rejected magical realism and especially the writing of Postboom authors who imitated García Márquez's techniques, thus sharing his views with the McOndo group (Alberto Fuguet, Sergio Gómez, Edmundo Paz Soldán, Jaime Bayly) as well as the Crack group (Jorge Volpi, Pedro Ángel Palou, Ricardo Chávez Castañeda, Eloy Urroz, and Ignacio Padilla): "we're reasonable human beings (poor, but reasonable), not spirits out of a manual of magic realism, not postcards for foreign consumption and abject masquerade. In other words, we're beings who have the historic chance of opting for freedom, and also--paradoxically--life" (Bolaño, "The Lost" 106).[12] In both interviews and essays, he certainly spared no praise for authors he admired (Borges, Cortázar, Nicanor Parra, Javier Marías, Enrique Vila-Matas, César Aira, Juan Villoro, and Rodrigo Rey Rosa, among numerous others) or criticism for the many authors he disliked and sometimes for even his own works (he claimed to have destroyed all his dramas, for example). In other texts, he is mercilessly critical of Latin American literature in general: "We have the worst politicians in the world, the worst capitalists in the world, the worst writers in the world. . .  We do our best to fool a few naive Europeans with terrible books, in which we appeal to their good nature, to political correctness, to tales of the noble savage, to exoticism" ("The Lost" 105).[13] As a result, these firm convictions on literary issues gained him enemies, particularly in his own country. But perhaps what is more impressive, besides the depth and brilliance of his reading of works by Borges and others, is the breadth of his readings of international literature, apparent in his essays included in Entre paréntesis.

            Moving on to the essays included in this collection, after the foreword by Siddhartha Deb, the reader will find two general overviews of Bolaño's oeuvre. The first one, by Rory O'Bryen, demonstrates how, explicitly aligning himself "with the ghost of Pierre Menard" in Distant Star, Bolaño returns to the scene of avant-garde Chilean writing and politicizes Borges's reflections in new ways. With its doublings, mirrors, twins and alter egos, Distant Star's deconstruction of the proper name–and with that, of attendant notions of responsibility–signals the impossibility of justice in the transition to democracy post-coup. Yet, according to O'Bryen, by explicitly aligning himself with the ghost of Menard, who rewrites a past text by re-reading it in the light of its possible future re-significations, Bolaño also demands a positive rethinking of justice and restitution as that which is forever unfinished and anachronistic. In the second overview, my essay studies the reflection, in Bolaño's works, of his psychological evolution from a devotion to political activism to melancholic skepticism and disappointment. In addition, I analyze the narrative role of repetition as an implementation of Borges's theories as presented in his short story "Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote" ("Pierre Menard, author of the Quixote").

            The following section focuses on Bolaño's two major novels: The Sauvage Detectives and 2666. In the first of the four essays, Margaret Boe Birns looks at the way the title 2666 contains the "number of the beast," 666, with the number two suggesting the coincidence of two visits by this ancient symbol of evil: the first deployment of 666 is in the narrative concerned with Nazi Germany and the figure of Reiter; the second one takes place in Mexico during the 1990s, reflecting the rise of neoliberal global capitalism, in which Reiter morphs into the elusive figure of Archimboldi. Then, Raúl Rodríguez-Freire proposes a different way to approach Bolaño's works, away from the tendency to overemphasize the issues of agency and subject positions: he explores the influence of epic works and themes. In turn, Martín Camps examines the "horrorism" of the apocalyptic 2666, but this time in the context of postnorteño (postnorthern) novels by Elmer Mendoza, Sergio González Rodríguez and Yuri Herrera, and the femicides in Ciudad Juárez, considered as the preamble to many murders and disappearances by drug trafficking groups in this city.

            The following two essays look at Bolaño's short novels and short stories. Nicholas Birns's essay examines Bolaño's works in light of his personal politics, the era of Neoliberalism, and the misreading of his novels in the English-speaking world. It also analyzes his representation of the political Right: the Pinochet coup in By Night in Chile and Distant Star, where literature is not seen as inherently opposed to or incorruptible by right-wing politics, and Nazi Germany in Nazi Literature in the Americas and The Third Reich, where the author shows how thoroughly fascist ideas did in fact permeate the Latin American imaginary and how fiction, as a mode of game, is complicit in what it represents. In the second essay of this section, Brett Levinson analyzes the theme of literature in the works of Roberto Bolaño, and above all, in The Insufferable Gaucho. Focusing first on the relationship between Bolaño and Kafka, it strives to demonstrate how Bolaño's penchant for excessive violence represents the author's effort to recover the connection between literature and subversion, and to deploy this bind as a means to rethink the role of art within Latin American neoliberalism.

            Two more essays complete the volume with the analysis of Bolaño's poetry. Luis Bagué Quílez's study shows how intertextuality, irony, and metafiction are constant issues in Bolaño's work. It deals with the relationship between the novels La literatura nazi en América (1996) and Estrella distante (1996), and the event where Raúl Zurita's poem "La nueva vida" (The New Life) flew over the skyline of New York thanks to the smoke produced by five aircrafts, a tribute to New York's Latino immigrant community and a response to the aesthetics of disappearance. The inverted parallel between Bolaño's and Zurita's texts, halfway between complicity and parody, opens a controversial discourse space involving tradition, challenging the authorial models represented by both writers, and examining the way in which two Chilean authors show the memory of disappearance. In turn, Enrique Salas-Durazo argues that although often considered a mere part of Bolaño's "prehistory," in Amberes (Antwerp, 2002), published both as novel and poetry, several of Bolaño's themes, images, and ideas about writing exploded, forming the universe of his literary legacy. In this work, one can track clues for interpreting the intricate web of relationships between his early poetic intuition and the development of his prose style.      With this collection of essays, we hope to contribute to the understanding of Bolaño's works in the English-speaking world and to encourage new studies on his oeuvre.

 Works Cited

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Álvarez, Eliseo. "Positions are Positions and Sex is Sex." Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview         and Other Conversations. Ed. Marcela Valdés. Trans. Sybil Pérez. New York: Melville House Publishing, 2009. 69-91. Print.

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Bolaño, Roberto. 2666. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2004. Print.

---. "Beach." Between Parentheses. Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003. Ed. Ignacio            Echevarría. Trans. Natasha Wimmer. New York: New Directions, 2004. 260-64. Print.

---. Between Parentheses. Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003. Ed. Ignacio Echevarría.
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---. Entre paréntesis. Ensayos, artículos y discursos (1998-2003). Ed. Ignacio Echevarría.     Barcelona: Anagrama, 2004. Print.

---. Last Evenings on Earth. Trans. Chris Andrews. New York: New Directions, 2005. Print.

---. Los detectives salvajes. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2008. Print.

---. El gaucho insufrible. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2003. Print.

---. La literatura nazi en América. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2005. Print.

---. Llamadas telefónicas. Barcelona: Anagrama, 1997. Print.

---. "The Lost." Between Parentheses. Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003. Ed. Ignacio            Echevarría. Trans. Natasha Wimmer. New York: New Directions, 2004.  102-06. Print.

---. Estrella distante. Barcelona: Anagrama, 1996. Print.

---. Nazi Literature in the Americas. New York: New Directions, 2008.

---. Nocturno de Chile. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2000. Print.   

---. "Los perdidos." Entre paréntesis. Ensayos, artículos y discursos (1998-2003). Ed. Ignacio            Echevarría. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2004. 94-98. Print.

---. Putas asesinas. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2001. Print.

---. Los perros románticos. Zarauz: Fundación Social y Cultural Kutxa, 1993. Print.

---. "Playa." Entre paréntesis. Ensayos, artículos y discursos (1998-2003). Ed. Ignacio             Echevarría. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2004. 241-45.

---. The Return. Trans. Chris Andrews. New York: New Directions, 2007.

---. "Roberto Brodsky." Between Parentheses. Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003. Ed.

            Ignacio Echevarría. Trans. Natasha Wimmer. New York: New Directions, 2004. 132-33.            Print.

---. "Roberto Brodsky." Entre paréntesis. Ensayos, artículos y discursos (1998-2003). Ed. Ignacio Echevarría. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2004. 123-24. Print.

---. El secreto del mal. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2007. Print.

---. Los sinsabores del verdadero policía. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2011. Print.

---. El Tercer Reich. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2010. Print.

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            Joyce seguido de Diario de bar. Barcelona: Acantilado, 2008. Print.escripción

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Braithwaite, Andrés, ed. Bolaño por sí mismo. Entrevistas escogidas. Santiago de Chile: Universidad Diego Portales, 2006. Print.Cortázar, Julio. Rayuela. Buenos Aires, Editorial Sudamericana, 1963. Print.

Corral, Wilfrido H. Bolaño traducido: nueva literatura mundial. Madrid: Ediciones Escalera,         2011. Print.

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Echevarría, Ignacio, ed. Entre paréntesis. Ensayos, artículos y discursos (1998-2003).             Barcelona: Anagrama, 2004. Print.

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Bolaño. Santiago de Chile: FRASIS, 2003. Print.

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Labbé J., Carlos. "Cuatro mexicanos velando un cadáver. Violencia y silencio en Los detectives        salvajes, de Roberto Bolaño." Taller de Letras 32 (2003): 91-98. Print.

Madariaga Caro, Monserrat. Bolaño infra:1975-1977, los años que inspiraron Los detectives        salvajes. Santiago de Chile: RIL, 2010. Print.

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[1] "uno de los pocos novelistas latinoamericanos del siglo veinte que se han escapado de su propio tiempo" (26).

[2] "Pronto comprendió que sólo existían dos maneras de accede a él: mediante la violencia abierta . . . o mediante la literatura, que es una forma de violencia soterrada" (62).

[3] "es necesario para rastrear las transformaciones internas de los personajes y desafiar la cultura de la conformidad mediante recursos frecuentemente picarescos" (47-48).

[4] "Y un lector ideal, si es que puedo pretender tenerlo--aunque no lo hago--, es el que maneja referencias culturales" (76).

[5] "Para entender Los detectives salvajes es necesario considerar la importancia de sus inconclusiones, tal como el narrador busca a los protagonistas en los sitios donde se han ausentado, entrevistando a personajes que no volvieron a verlos. Nunca se logrará leer la obra de Cesárea Tinajero, menos conocer a cabalidad qué le llevó lejos de los Estridentistas y de la capital mexicana. No es posible leer un solo poema de Lima y Belano, sistematizar el programa estético del realismo visceral, ni tampoco encontrar la explicación del exilio de ambos de México. Jamás sabremos, con certeza, el paradero de García Madero" (94-95).

[6] "que Borges es tal vez el escritor más influyente y fecundo del siglo pasado para las letras hispanas de hoy en día, y que el escritor de hoy en día igualmente influyente y fecundo, en la actual generación y seguramente en otras venideras es . . . Roberto Bolaño" (n.p.).

[7] "sus ansias, sus búsquedas, sus paradojas, su número tan creciente, y su larga proyección en el tiempo" (n.p.).

[8] "y hasta la vieja me observaba . . .  preguntándose tal vez quién era aquel joven que lloraba en silencio, un joven de treinta y cinco años que no tenía nada, pero que estaba recobrando la voluntad y el valor y que sabía que aún iba a vivir un tiempo más" ("Playa" 245).

[9] "trampas autobiográficas" (269).

[10] "Todos los poetas . . . inventan su pasado" (63).

[11] "La leyenda de alguien que fue a la vez nuestro contemporáneo y maestro" (n.p.).

[12] "somos seres humanos razonables (pobres, pero razonables), no entelequias salidas de un manual de realismo mágico, no postales para consumo externo y abyecto disfraz interno. Es decir: somos seres que pueden optar en un momento histórico por la libertad y también, aunque resulte paradójico, por la vida" ("Los perdidos" 97-98).

[13] "Tenemos los peores políticos del mundo, los peores capitalistas del mundo, los peores escritores del mundo. . . . Tratamos de engañar a algunos europeos cándidos e ignorantes con obras pésimas, en donde apelamos a su buena voluntad, a lo políticamente correcto, a las historias del buen salvaje, al exotismo" ("Los perdidos" 96-97).


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