Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Big, Mysterious World of Roberto Bolano (1)

I hope you won't think me indiscreet, said the doctor, but I'm writing a biography of our friend and the more information I can gather on his life, tne better, wouldn't you say? Someday he'll leave here, smoothing his eyebrows, someday the Spanish public will have to recognize him as one of the greats, I don't mean they'll give him a prize,hardly, no Principe de Asturias or Cervantes for him, let alone a seat in the Academy, literary careers in Spain are for social climbers, operators, and ass kissers, if you'll pardon my expression.

Guees who writes it? Yes, Roberto Bolano, who I've started reading at last. I'm reading two of his books simultaneously - 2666 at home, and Savage Detectives in my clinic. I find Bolano's writing totally gripping for me. I like his narrative, his style, his voice, even the matter-of-fact way he describes sex acts. His tastes totally match mine, and it's impossible to put down his writing. I find Bolano much more interesting and natural and unpretentious than Salman Rushdie or Garcia Marquez or Orhan Pamuk.

His first part of 2666 deals with four fans of Archimboldi, the reclusive German writer(of course, imagined). Pelletier, Espinoza, Morini and Norton - four different nationals associated with different universities - are in search of real Archimboldi. They roam different locations across the globe, and finally arrive at Santa Teresa based on a rumour that the great writer visited the city some time back.

In the process of this search, Petellier and Espinoza get intimate with Norton, the only lady in the group, but Morini, being handicapped and wheel-chair bound, keeps at a distance from her. Norton sleeps with both Petellier and Espinoza separately and in one occasion together. In course of time, she gets offer to marry any of them. But Norton turns down the offer, and in a strange move, marries Morini.

I don't know how long we'll last together, said Norton inn her letter. It doesn't matter to me or to Morini either(I think). We love each other and we're happy. I know the two of you will understand.

It's a delicate and wonderful love story. But this also leads Petellier and Espinoza to believe, more strongly than ever before, that Archimboldi is here and this is the closest they'll ever be to him.

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