The Year of Roberto Bolano

Roberto Bolano’s posthumous onslaught on the US literary scene continues. Boston Review has published a poem My Life in the Tubes of Survival. DreamingThat the saucer and I had finished our ridiculous dance,Our humble critique of Reality, in a painless, anonymousCrash in one of the planet’s deserts. DeathThat brought me no peace, so after my … Continue reading “The Year of Roberto Bolano”


A Short Story By Roberto Bolano

Long time readers of this blog may be aware of the admiration that this blogger has for nearly all the works by Roberto Bolaño that have been translated into English. A poem by Bolaño appeared here a few posts below. This week’s issue of the New Yorker carries a story by the late Mexican, Chilean, … Continue reading “A Short Story By Roberto Bolano”

The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño

While we were still under the spell of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a new generation of Latin American writers arrived. A scintillating star in the galaxy of this new generation undoubtedly is Roberto Bolaño, who died at the age of 50 four years ago. Principally a poet, he increasingly has been recognized as an important contemporary … Continue reading “The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño”

Roberto Bolano’s Advice on the Art of Writing Short Stories

Never approach short stories one at a time. If one approaches short stories one at a time, one can quite honestly be writing the same short story until the day one dies. It is best to write short stories three or five at a time. If one has the energy, write them nine or fifteen … Continue reading “Roberto Bolano’s Advice on the Art of Writing Short Stories”

Distant Stars by Roberto Bolano

Roberto Bolaño died three years ago at the relatively young age of 50 , at the pinnacle of his career as a writer and before he could be better known in the English knowing world. The translation into English of his By Night in Chile a few years ago marked his arrival in the English … Continue reading “Distant Stars by Roberto Bolano”

Mario Vargas Llosa’s Exasperatingly Long Wait

Five years ago, when the Peruvian writer, Mario Vargas Llosa was asked his opinion on the possibility of his winning the Nobel prize were, he replied: “Let us not even think of it…” Indeed, Mario Vargas Llosa’s turn at the Nobel has come in exasperatingly late, when not only him, but many of his admirers … Continue reading “Mario Vargas Llosa’s Exasperatingly Long Wait”

One Reader, and so many Countries

At long last, I have been able to migrate the list of the books read over the last 10 years to GoodReads, a very neat site to keep track of one’s reading. Despite its very simple interface, I did like Bibliophil but it is not very intuitive or exciting to use. I also maintained a … Continue reading “One Reader, and so many Countries”

The Year Gone By: 2008

My reading year came to a grinding halt not on the 31st, but the 28th of December this year as I finished Gioconda Belli’s riveting memoir The Country Under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War. Belli spent nearly two decades as a sandinismo, working for the overthrow of the dreaded US backed Somoza … Continue reading “The Year Gone By: 2008”

Selected Posts

Latin American Literature A Decade of Blogging Latin American Literature (Part I, Part II, Part III) Roberto Bolano: Nazi Literature in the Americas The Savage Detectives Distant Stars Two Novels about Mexico Cesar Aira How I became a Nun An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter Mario Vargas Llosa The Discreet Hero (2015) … Continue reading “Selected Posts”

Nazi Literature in South America and India

Roberto Bolano in his recently translated novel Nazi Literature in the Americas weaves an entire literary universe filled with imaginary writers and their writings.Not all writers were,however, fans of Hitler or other Nazi leaders or even their ideology. Bolano’s biographies of these imaginary writers, inspired in a way by Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings, are … Continue reading “Nazi Literature in South America and India”

The Year Gone By: 2007

A somewhat early wrap up of the year’s reading, before this blog goes into a month long winter hibernation. The most significant book I read this year was undoubtedly Rahul Banerjee’s Recovery of the Lost Tongue, the author’s memoirs of his life and struggles among the Bhil adivasis of central India. Interestingly the link to … Continue reading “The Year Gone By: 2007”

“Scent of Chile at Daybreak”

“Scent of Chile at Daybreak” by Marjorie Agosín this daybreak here on a foreign shore on the other half of the world, and on another ocean I felt that the sea smelled like Chile after the ruthless rains, or the days of fog when ghosts and those blessed by miracles come out to haunt among … Continue reading ““Scent of Chile at Daybreak””

More on The Savage Detectives

The Quarterly Conversation has a few articles on Roberto Bolaño, including one on his recently translated novel The Savage Detectives (my review here). It reproduces a poem by the mysterious founder of the “visceral realist” movement Cesarea Tinajero in whose search the two “detectives” in the novel set out for. The only published poem by … Continue reading “More on The Savage Detectives”

Mexico City after 1968

Carmen Boullosa recollects the literary scene in Mexico City,which was the meeting point of many writers exiled from South America in the early 1970s, and which forms the backdrop of Roberto Bolano’s recently translated novels Amulet and The Savage Detectives. Paz or Huerta, that was the question. We never thought about whether we were for … Continue reading “Mexico City after 1968”

Two Novels about Mexico, 1968

          1968 for Mexico, as for many countries around the world, marked a year of student protests, culminating in what has come to be known as the Tlatelolco massacres. Wishing to change the oppressive one party rule of the PRI students revolted in the backdrop of persistent, if not rising social … Continue reading “Two Novels about Mexico, 1968”

The Year Gone By: 2006

Picture of the year: A Halloween Buddha (see note at end of the post) The most significant book that one read this year was undoubtedly One China, Many Paths. It brings out the tumultuous changes happening in China and generally ignored by popular media that is too focussed on the neo- liberal paradise that China … Continue reading “The Year Gone By: 2006”

A Literary Guide to the World

The Salon has a great collection on literary destinations of the world. Some of those that interested me appear below. Russia: Ken Kalfus provides a backdrop to the contemporary Russia and goes on a nostalgic trip to the past when great literature was written. A couple of remarkable insights: Alienation, the struggle for a decent … Continue reading “A Literary Guide to the World”

The Last Song of Manuel Sendero by Ariel Dorfman

An Experimental Novel on a Real Tragedy I started reading the book with gusto and expectation. I had heard a lot about this Argentina born, Chilean citizen who had grown up in the United States of America and now lives in Chile ‘whenever possible.’ Then the book itself is about the Chilean socialist and democratic … Continue reading “The Last Song of Manuel Sendero by Ariel Dorfman”

A Decade in Blogging: A literary journey to Latin America-III

The Nicaraguan poet Gioconda Belli’s riveting memoir The Country Under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War gives a glimpse of the deep involvement of poets, writers and revolution in Latin America. Belli spent nearly two decades as a sandinismo, working for the overthrow of the US backed Somoza regime in Nicaragua. When revolution … Continue reading “A Decade in Blogging: A literary journey to Latin America-III”