Friday, August 10, 2007

Roberto Bolaño - Amulet

Roberto Ontiveros reviews Roberto Bolaño's Amulet.
Amulet’s prose is not instructive or pushy. Bolaño wryly and blithely accepts the demands of art. Art wants every damn thing and may offer back only the understanding that it needs every damn thing. Amulet seeks not to subvert, but to find waspy succor in the recognitions of art’s unchanging burden. Amulet and the yearning represented in its pages is an anthem to march by, to carry as one stands. There is a ring of eternal return in these pages. Souls that make lyrical sense of the universe are a constant in Bolaño: as old as the Earth, as old as the desire for eulogy that accommodates all that is fine.

Despite what may appear a tendency—in his characters and in his life—toward cynicism and judgment directed at an arbitrary canon, Bolaño was obsessed with his literary afterlife. Two of his better short pieces, “A Literary Adventure” and “Dance Card,” find their gravity in this worry. There are rumors that he might have postponed the liver transplant he needed so that he could see that his last book, 2666, was ready to be considered a good draft, reasoning that he could start the revisions after an operation that never came.
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