Understanding Roberto Bolano
In Understanding Roberto Bolano, Ricardo Gutierrez-Mouat offers a comprehensive analysis of this critically acclaimed Chilean poet and novelist whose work brought global attention to Latin American literature in the 1960s unseen since the rise of Garcia Marquez and magic realism. Best known for The Savage Detectives, winner of the Romulo Gallegos Prize; the novella By Night in Chile; and the posthumously published novel 2666, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Bolano died in 2003 just as his reputation was becoming established. After a brief biographical sketch, Gutierrez-Mouat chronologically contextualizes literary interpretations of Bolano's work in terms of his life, cultural background, and political ideals. Gutierrez-Mouat explains Bolano's work to an English-speaking audience--including his relatively neglected poetry--and conveys a sense of where Bolano fits in the Latin American tradition. Since his death, eleven of novels, four short story collections, and three poetry collections have been translated into English. The afterword addresses Bolano's status as a Latin American writer, as the former literary editor of El Pais claimed, neither magical realist, nor baroque nor localist, but [creator of] an imaginary, extraterritorial mirror of Latin America, more as a kind of state of mind than a specific place.