Bolaño, to shape his fictional worlds, mined his experiences wandering through the rubble of the postrevolutionary Americas and then Europe, where he moved in 1977, eventually settling in Blanes, a town of 30,000 people on the Spanish coast near Barcelona. His fiction can be described as a chronicle of Latin America's dashed utopias. Himself a child of Chile's failed revolution, Bolaño nearly lost his life as a 17-year-old during Augusto Pinochet's Central Intelligence Agency-assisted coup against Socialist martyr Salvador Allende. Violating curfew, Bolaño tried to help the forces battling the coup and ended up under arrest. He escaped the fate of so many others, who were erased from existence, thanks to dumb luck. One of the officers who took him in was a childhood friend and let him go.
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