Of life

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

this is as much about the dream of cre­at­ing a lit­er­a­ture as it as about the dream of over­throw­ing a fas­cist regime.

As al­ways, these two con­cepts are in­ex­tri­ca­bly in­ter­twined for Bolano.

They take on var­i­ous lev­els of po­lit­i­cal and per­sonal res­o­nance, with vary­ing de­grees of ab­stract­ness: All I had was a book, which I car­ried in my tiny back­pack. At once, while I was walk­ing, the book started to burn. It was get­ting light out and hardly any cars passed. When I chucked my scorched back­pack into a ditch my back was sting­ing as if I had wings.

There was one ac­tiv­ity Bo­lao en­joyed more than writ­ing po­etry: read­ing.

This is ev­i­dent in Tres, where the ghosts of lit­er­a­tures re­side: we en­counter palimpsests and re­mem­brances of Borges and Cor­tazar, odes and dreams to Perec and Baude­laire, a style in­fused with the Sym­bol­istes fil­tered through the Beat Gen­er­a­tion yet de­part­ing from both.

Hugo Bowne-an­der­son is a free­lance writer.

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