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.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Don DeLillo interview

“In the 1970s, when I started writing novels, I was a figure in the margins, and that’s where I belonged. If I’m headed back that way, that’s fine with me, because that’s always where I felt I belonged. Things changed for me in the 1980s and 1990s, but I’ve always preferred to be somewhere in the corner of a room, observing.”

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.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A.S.Byatt interview

Q:In a recent interview, American novelist Philip Roth predicted that the novel would become extinct as a genre in 25 years at the most. As one of the most important novelist of our age, what is your opinion of his prediction and how do you foresee the future of the novel?

A:I don’t see the novel disappearing. It represents a prolonged communication from one person to one person and it uses language, still the most complicated method we have devised for talking to each other. It may well change its format -- become electronic, for instance -- but it will take a long time for it to disappear. All the blogs and Facebooks we now have are in fact evidence of our need to read and write. Commonplace novels may be replaced by these methods. Good novels will still be needed. And good writers will need to pay attention to the blogosphere and to Twitter, et al., to see what is happening to the medium.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dumitru Tsepeneag interview

"For me, literature is the daughter of music: a bit heavy and more level headed than its mother. Literature submits to the same principles of successive perception, which allows it to build progressively. The narrative image has more dimensions than the painted image—literature is more complex than painting. Initially, this complexity represents a disadvantage, because the reader has to concentrate much more than when they’re looking at a canvas. It gives the author, on the other hand, the opportunity to feel like a creator: they can offer their readers a world in which there’s room for everyone, as every reader has their own reading and vision."

Full interview

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mueller's favourite for the Nobel Peace Prize

Liu Xiaobo, Chinese Writer
In a rather unusual but warm and genuine gesture, Herta Mueller, the Nobel Laureate, writes a letter to Nobel Foundation and recommends Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese writer, for the Nobel Peace Prize.

"I, too, believe that Liu Xiaobo deserves the Nobel Peace Prize because in the face of countless threats from the Chinese regime and great risk to his life, he has fought unerringly for the freedom of the individual.

Dear Marcus Storch, I know that as a Literary Nobel laureate I am not allowed to nominate candidates for the Novel Peace Prize. But I am writing to ask you to pass on my support for Liu Xiaobo to Norway."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Martin Amis interview

".. fiction has been nuclear weapons, the Holocaust, and the gulag. But the impulse each time was literary. I’ve just written a piece about writing Time’s Arrow, and begin by quoting the often-asked question that I heard, “why did you decide to write a novel about the Holocaust?” I never did. I never decide to write any novel of mine. They emerge. “Decide” is completely the wrong word, and “about” is completely the wrong preposition. You find yourself writing around a topic, but not after thinking “someone ought to do something like this,” nothing like that."

Monday, February 1, 2010

J.D.Salinger quote

“There is a marvelous peace in not publishing. Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy.... I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure.”

J.D.Salinger in The Times (1974)

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