An Expanding Universe
Since the publication of The Savage Detectives in 2007, the work of Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) has achieved an acclaim rarely enjoyed by literature in translation. Chris Andrews, a leading translator of Bolaño's work into English, explores the singular achievements of the author's oeuvre, engaging with its distinct style and key thematic concerns, incorporating his novels and stories into the larger history of Latin American and global literary fiction.
Andrews provides new readings and interpretations of Bolaño's novels, including 2666, The Savage Detectives, and By Night in Chile, while at the same time examining the ideas and narrative strategies that unify his work. He begins with a consideration of the reception of Bolaño's fiction in English translation, examining the reasons behind its popularity. Subsequent chapters explore aspects of Bolaño's fictional universe and the political, ethical, and aesthetic values that shape it. Bolaño emerges as the inventor of a prodigiously effective "fiction-making system," a subtle handler of suspense, a chronicler of aimlessness, a celebrator of courage, an anatomist of evil, and a proponent of youthful openness. Written in a clear and engaging style, Roberto Bolano's Fiction offers an invaluable understanding of one of the most important authors of the last thirty years.
In this superb volume of criticism... Andrews, the English translator of ten of Bolaño's books, deftly analyzes the complex themes and narrative layers of Bolaño's fictional universe....An indispensable guide to navigating the rich world of Bolaño's fiction.
Profusely documented and with a thorough bibliography, this full-length critical monograph is a great start to what will, one hopes, be a parade of analytical examinations of Bolaño's works.
Written in a clear and engaging style, Robert Bolano's Fiction offers an invaluable understanding of one of the most important authors of the last thirty years.
[An] elegantly written literary analysis.
A sharp and accessible guide to the literary style and narrative skills of this amazing novelist.
Andrews is not only the leading translator of Bolaño's work into English but also one of the leading scholars of Bolaño's fiction.
Andrews's book... is an ambitious and insightful take on what is sure to be an exciting area of study in the coming years.
[Andrews] examines Bolaño's 'fiction-making system' and ethical patterns with graceful, accessible erudition. The analysis of Bolaño's techniques helps us not only to understand our experience of reading him but also to fathom the writers he resonates with.
Lorna Scott Fox
List of Abbreviations
Note on Translations
1. The Anomalous Case of Roberto Bolaño
2. Bolaño's Fiction-Making System
3. Something Is Going to Happen: Narrative Tension
5. Duels and Brawls: Borges and Bolaño
6. Evil Agencies
7. A Sense of What Matters
Appendix: Victims in "The Part About the Crimes" (2666) and Huesos en el desierto