Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Big Mysterious World of Roberto Bolano (2)

Part 2 is no continuation of Part 1 in the real sense, and you can read it as a separate text, as if Bolano begins the novel anew forgetting that he has already written the first part. Amalfitano, the Chilean professor, showed up in Part 1 as a guide to four academics in their search for the elusive writer Archimboldi, but he then didn’t attract the readers as others.

So Amalfitano deserved a 68-page treat: The part about Amalfitano. Lola, Amalfitano’s wife, also occupies a part of it. Lola is a queer woman who abandons him for the sake of a poet living in an asylum. The poet dodges her, and she goes out into the big world and wanders around aimlessly, and finally contracts AIDS.

Amalfitano comes across as a lonely, depressive figure, and when he is not taking classes in the university, he reads, ruminates, dreams, hallucinates and thinks. He may seem like a bore, but to me, he’s quite an interesting intellectual who lives his own way.

But why is this part like it is? Is Bolano loading us with details of Santa Teresa’s men and milieu before he proceeds with his story further? Is he giving us a low down on Mexican mind and spirit? Or is he at an experiment with his text? You would notice Bolano incorporates some geometrical figures in the part– not quite relevantly.Is he at this point tired of communicating in words ? Does he believe in an imperfect but spontaneous text? No doubt he is an experimentalist here, and does not care for the traditional form of a novel. But he is vibrant, funny and even hilarious, especially when he dwells upon important characters of his times, like for example, Pinochet or Boris Yeltsin.

I find this part hugely amusing, celebral and enjoyable.

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