Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bolano story review

Story: Meeting with Enrique Lihn

The story has a single-paragraph text which could have been divided in many, many paragraphs. But why would Bolano do it? He's not your MFA-trained writer that he would be bothered about the look of the text; he must write his own way. Yet it's a wonderfully smooth read: compact, gripping, moving, insightful, evocative and full of experiences, histories and images like you find in big classics. I expected, though, some anarchic element in it.

Look at its opening line:
In 1999, after returning from Venezuela, I dreamed that I was being taken to Enrique Lihn’s apartment, in a country that could well have been Chile, in a city that could well have been Santiago, bearing in mind that Chile and Santiago once resembled Hell, a resemblance that, in some subterranean layer of the real city and the imaginary city, will forever remain.

Everything happens in the writer's dream. The vivid but unnostalgic narrative of his poet-friend Enrique Lihn - as if a non-movie rewind of a colourful life lived in real time and space - unfolds in a very apt and surreal milieu.

I get a feel that Bolano encapsulates a novel's material in the short space of a story. His effortless blend of the real and imaginary, fact and fiction, present and past is simply amazing.

And what a great end:
And we looked and looked, and the façades were clearly the façades of another time, like the sidewalks covered with parked cars that also belonged to another time, a time that was silent yet mobile (Lihn was watching it move), a terrible time that endured for no reason other than sheer inertia.

Read the story here.

No comments:

Search This Blog

My Blog List