Roberto Bolaño Ávalos (April 28, 1953 — July 15, 2003) was a Latin American (born in Chile) novelist and poet, winner of the prestigious Rómulo Gallegos Prize for his novel "Los detectives salvajes" ("The Savage Detectives") in 1999.
For most of his youth, Bolaño was a vagabond, living at one time or another in Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, France and Spain, where he finally settled down in the early 1980s in the small Catalan beach town of Blanes. There he died of a liver disorder he suffered from for more than a decade. He was survived by his Spanish wife and their two children, whom he once called "my only motherland." Bolaño named his only son Lautaro, after the Mapuche leader Lautaro, who resisted the Spanish conquest of Chile, as related in the sixteenth-century epic "La araucana".
A crucial episode in his life, mentioned in different forms in several of his works, occurred in 1973, when he left Mexico for Chile to "help build the revolution." During his travels to Chile, he met revolutionary poet Roque Dalton in El Salvador. After Augusto Pinochet's coup against Salvador Allende, he was arrested; Bolaño spent eight days1 in custody, although he did not suffer torture, and was rescued by two former classmates who had become prison guards. In the 1970s, he became a Trotskyist and a founding member of "infrarrealismo", a minor poetic movement. Although deep down he always felt like a poet, in the vein of his beloved Nicanor Parra, he is known for his novels, "novellas", and short story collections. Six weeks before he died, his fellow Latin American novelists hailed him as the most important figure of his generation at an international conference he attended in Seville. He counted among his closest friends novelists Rodrigo Fresán and Enrique Vila-Matas.
Although a hard-working, devoted writer all his life, Bolaño only began publishing regularly in the late 1990s. He immediately became a widely respected figure in Spanish and Latin American letters. In a rapid succession, he published a widely acclaimed series of works, the most important of which are the novel "Los detectives salvajes" ("The Savage Detectives"), the novella "Nocturno de Chile" ("By Night in Chile"), and, posthumously, the novel "2666". His two collections of short stories "Llamadas telefónicas" and "Putas asesinas" were awarded literary prizes.
"The Savage Detectives" has been compared by Jorge Edwards to Julio Cortázar's "Rayuela" and José Lezama Lima's "Paradiso". In a review in "El País", the Spanish critic Ignacio Echevarría declared it "the novel that Borges would have written." (An avid reader, Bolaño often expressed his love for Borges and Cortázar's work, and once concluded an overview of contemporary Argentinian literature by saying that "one should read Borges more.") The central section of "The Savage Detectives" presents a long, fragmentary series of testimonies about the trips and adventures of Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima between 1976-1995, trips and adventures that take them from Mexico DF to several places in Europe, to Israel and even Liberia during the civil war in the mid-nineties. The testimonies are framed at the beginning and end of the novel by the story of their quest of Cesárea Tinajero, the founder of "real visceralismo," a Mexican avant-garde literary movement of the twenties. The aspiring, 17-year-old poet García Madero tells us first about the poetic and social scene around the new "visceral realists." He later closes the novel with his account of their escape from Mexico City to the state of Sonora and how they end up in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, which reappears in "2666". Bolaño called "The Savage Detectives" "a love letter to my generation."
The novel "2666" was published in 2004. At 1100 pages, the novel is divided in five "parts," four and a half of which were finished before Bolaño's death. Focused on the unsolved and still ongoing serial murders of Ciudad Juárez (Santa Teresa in the novel), the apocalyptic "2666" depicts the horror of the 20th century through a wide cast of characters, including the secretive, Pynchon-like German writer Archimboldi.
*"Consejos de un discípulo de Morrison a un fanático de Joyce" (1984) ["Advice from a Morrison Disciple to a Joyce Fanatic"]
*"La pista de hielo" (1993) (novel): A crime story in a Spanish Mediterranean town. The "choral" narrative techniques Bolaño will profusely use writing "Los detectives salvajes" are already at work here. Arturo Belano, his literary alter ego, is a main character of the story.
*"Literatura nazi en América" "Nazi Literature in the Americas" (1996) (novel): An encyclopedia of fictional authors inspired by the works of Borges and J.R. Wilcock.
*"Estrella distante" ("Distant Star") (1996) (novella): An expansion of the last chapter of "Literatura nazi".
*"Llamadas telefónicas" (1997) (short stories) ["Telephone Calls"]
*"Los detectives salvajes" ("The Savage Detectives") (1998) (novel)
*"Amuleto" ("Amulet") (1999) (novella): Again, Bolaño decides to take a secondary character from a previous novel and expand her story. This time, the character is Auxilio Lacouture, a Uruguayan poet "lost" in Mexico who appeared in "Los detectives salvajes".
*"Monsieur Pain" (1999) (novel) ["Mister Bread"]
*"Nocturno de Chile" ("By Night in Chile") (2000) (novella): The last night of an Opus Dei priest and literary critic connected to the dictatorial government of Pinochet in Chile.
*"Putas asesinas" (2001) (short stories) ["Killer Whores"]
*"Amberes" (2002) (novella): Strongly fragmented book which was considered by Bolaño the foundation for everything he would write afterwards. Although not published until 2002, it was written around 1983.
*"El gaucho insufrible" (2003) (short stories) ["The Insufferable Gaucho"]
*"2666" (2004) (novel)
*"Last Evenings on Earth" (2006) (short stories): A selection of stories taken from "Putas asesinas" and "Llamadas telefónicas", translated into English by Chris Andrews.
* "El secreto del mal" (March 2007) (short stories): A collection of short stories from his personal archive edited by Ignacio Echevarría.
*"Amulet" (2008): Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews, published by New Directions.
*"Los perros románticos: Poemas 1980-1998" (2000) ["The Romantic Dogs"]
*"Tres" (2000) ["Three"]
*"La universidad desconocida" ["The Unknown University"] (2007)
*"El gaucho insufrible" (2003), see above, also contains two essays.
*"Entre paréntesis" (2004), a collection of articles, columns, interviews and speeches, edited by Ignacio Echevarría.
* Karim Benmiloud, Raphaël Estève (coord.). "Les astres noirs de Roberto Bolaño". Bordeaux, Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux, 2007.
* Patricia Espinosa H. "Territorios en fuga: estudios criticos sobre la obra de Roberto Bolaño". Providencia (Santiago), Ed. Frasis, 2003.
* Jorge Herralde. "Para Roberto Bolaño". Colombia, Villegas Editores, 2005
* Celina Manzoni. "Roberto Bolaño, la literatura como tauromaquia". Buenos Aires, Corregidor, 2002.
* Celina Manzoni, Dunia Gras, Roberto Brodsky. "Jornadas homenaje Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003): simposio internacional". Barcelona , ICCI Casa Amèrica a Catalunya, 2005.
* Fernando Moreno. "Roberto Bolaño: una literatura infinita". Poitiers, Université de Poitiers / CNRS, 2005.
1 [http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20070507&s=schama050707 Schama, Chloe. 'Dust and Literature',"The New Republic", May 8, 2007]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/3070879.stm Obituary at BBC News]
* [http://www.letras.s5.com/bolano210703.htm Obituary by Rodrigo Fresán]
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/09/books/09bola.html?ei=5090&en=ac473cced0060098&ex=1281240000&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all Article about Bolaño in "The New York Times"]
* [http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2007/03/26/070326crat_atlarge_zalewski Article about Bolaño in "The New Yorker"]
* [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070423/boullosa "Bolaño in Mexico" by Carmen Boullosa in "The Nation"]
* [http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/bolanor/distants.htm Reviews of "Distant Star" at "The Complete Review"]
* [http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,899629,00.html Review of "By Night in Chile" in "The Guardian"]
* [http://ficciones.wordpress.com/2007/07/18/the-savage-detectives-roberto-bolano/ Review of "The Savage Detectives" in "Ficciones" by Dr. Basileios Drolias]
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/09/books/review/09prose.html?ei=5088&en=1e4bd45802cce982&ex=1310097600&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=print Review of "Last Evenings on Earth" in "The New York Times"]
* [http://www.bu.edu/trl/16/bolano.html "Literature + Sickness = Sickness" translated in] "News from the Republic of Letters"
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/07/AR2007040701186.html "A Writer Crosses Over" in "The Washington Post"]
* [http://www.wordswithoutborders.org/?lab=BorgesAndBolano "Borges, Bolaño and the Return of the Epic" by Aura Estrada in "Words Without Borders"]
* [http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n17/kunk01_.html "In the Sonora" by Benjamin Kunkel in "The London Review of Books"]
* [http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=JS1qhtH1U4U "trailer Bolaño Cercano" by Erik Haasnoot]
Источник: Roberto Bolaño