Friday, April 16, 2010

Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview & Other Conversations

Roberto Bolano: The Last Interview: And Other Conversations 
William Skidelsky reviews Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview and Other Conversations.
This compilation of interviews seems destined to inflame the legend more than it will further the truth. Bolaño didn't often give interviews, and it is apparent from the ones featured here – including his last, to Mexican Playboy, months before he died – that he didn't take them too seriously. His answers tend to be playful, deflecting. Asked why he "always take(s) the opposite view of things", he responds: "I never take the opposite view of things." Asked what feelings "posthumous" works awaken in him, he replies: "Posthumous, it sounds like the name of a Roman gladiator." But Bolaño's often withering assessments of other writers and of the literary establishment ("The Royal Spanish Academy is a cave full of privileged cranums") are well worth reading, and there's an illuminating introduction by Marcela Valdes, which explains in detail how Bolaño came to find out about the killings in Ciudad Juarez that formed the basis of his masterpiece, 2666.
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