Bolaño, Roberto

Tagged: Author

Working name of Chilean author and poet Roberto Bolaño Avalos (1953-2003), who was garlanded with awards for works largely outside the sf genre (see Mainstream Writers of SF). La literatura nazi en America (1996; trans Chris Andrews as Nazi Literature in the Americas 2008) is his masterpiece of sustained Fabulation: an entirely fictional encyclopedia of fascist authors, detailing their non-existent bibliographies, scandals, love-lives and grubby literary spats. Dates of death and citations within the text extend well into the twenty-first century, as if the book itself were a Time Travel artefact from the Near Future. Three sf authors are included, with details of their chilling yet ludicrous magna opera, in much the same manner as the Alternate-History Adolf Hitler lampooned in Norman Spinrad's The Iron Dream (1972). The narrator of Amuleto (1999; trans Chris Andrews as Amulet 2006), who thinks of herself as the crypto-transtemporal muse of Mexican poets, narrates her life story while hiding from the military in 1968; this narrative incorporates events taking place many years after.

Bolaño may have intended to return to narratives of the future in his final work, 2666 (2004; trans by Natasha Wimmer 2008); however, the text as published offers no clue as to the relevance of the title. Lacking any passage that might link the number to the year 2666 CE, mentioned in several of his other works (including Amulet) as a watershed moment, as far from the birth of Christ as the Exodus was from Creation, 2666 remains a non-genre text, at least in the form that was salvaged from Bolaño's desk after his death. [JonC]

see also: Equipoise.

Roberto Bolaño Avalos

born Santiago, Chile: 28 April 1953

died Barcelona, Spain: 15 July 2003

works (selected)

  • La literatura nazi en America (Barcelona, Spain: Seix Barral, 1996) [binding unknown/]
  • Amuleto (Barcelona, Spain: Editorial Anagrama, 1999) [binding unknown/]
    • Amulet (New York: New Directions, 2006) [trans by Chris Andrews of the above: hb/from Gerardo Suter, "un visitante nocturno"]
  • 2666 (Barcelona, Spain: Editorial Anagrama, 2004) [binding unknown/]
    • 2666 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008) [trans by Natasha Wimmer of the above: hb/Charlotte Strick from Gustave Moreau, "Jupiter and Semele"]


Previous versions of this entry

Website design and build: STEEL

Site ©2011 Gollancz, SFE content ©2011 SFE Ltd.