or Murderous Bitches
is my first encounter with the prose of Roberto Bolaño. What can I say? I'm hooked by his talent as a story teller, by his imagination, weaving real life facts with fabricated ones. What I liked the most was the dreamy feeling I got while reading his stories, like I was sitting together with Bolaño at a bonfire and he was murmuring some tales about his life. And they felt so real that I could have believed everything he would tell me.
Impersonating various characters, Bolaño recounts unrelated stories, many of which have an abrupt ending. At first this bothered me a bit, but then I found it to be actually charming in its veil of mystery, like the tale might continue later on, after a short break.
I started to research what was real and what was not: his father was a boxer - true; his mother was a porn actress - false; he moved with his family to Mexico City - true; he was arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist, but later released, without being tortured - unclear (he describes this experience in the story Dance Card
); he was vagabonding through France, Belgium and Spain - true; he played soccer - maybe; he married a Catalan woman and settled near Barcelona - true; Nicanor Parra was his favorite Chilean poet - true; he had an after-life experience - who knows?
Two of the stories are narrated by B., of whom I hear that represents the author himself and also appears in [b:Last Evenings on Earth|537640|Last Evenings on Earth|Roberto Bolaño|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348600602s/537640.jpg|61219]... [[Wait, I've had a revelation... in fact these stories do appear in the latter book... The last seven in Evenings...
are in common with Putas asesinas
. While the rest of the stories in Evenings...
can be found in Llamadas Telefónicas
. Ok, I've untangled some of the mystery. It means that six stories are only in Putas asesinas
.]] Sorry for the digression!
The only story that brakes the pattern of the first-person narrative is precisely Putas asesinas
, which is told in the form of a monologue. It is also the only story where the protagonist is of the opposite sex - a girl who has kidnapped a guy whom she spotted on TV, at the ending of a soccer game.
Las mujeres son putas asesinas, Max, son monos ateridos de frío que contemplan el horizonte desde un árbol enfermo, son princesas que te buscan en la oscuridad, llorando, indagando las palabras que nunca podrán decir. En el equívoco vivimos y planeamos nuestros ciclos de vida.
I'll focus a bit on the stories that are to be found only in this collection (please correct me if I'm wrong, those of you who are true Bolaño fans, especially Mike Puma - assuming that you would read this review in the first place):
The protagonist in [b:Prefiguration of Lalo Cura|17879149|Prefiguration of Lalo Cura|Roberto Bolaño|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1367544664s/17879149.jpg|25037644] - la locura, right? - has a mother who is an actress in porn movies, but this seems as natural as the drug trafficking. Instead, he speaks obsessively about another actor, Pajarito Gómez, who had a sort of inner vibration that captivated the viewers.
You can read this story here:
http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2010/04/19/100419fi_fiction_bolano?currentPage=all The Return
is one of the two stories with a surrealist touch - it is told from the point of view of a ghost, who follows his former body and stumbles upon some unpredictable situations. This story is one of my favorites, despite a rather gross scene involving the corpse.
The other surreal tale is Encounter with Enrique Lihn
, in which the narrator relates his dream, in which he meets the deceased writer.Buba
is an amazing story of some soccer players who start to win the games due to some dubious practices of their African colleague, Buba. As I've also stated in my status update, Bolaño managed to write a story about soccer that didn't bore me for a second, which is truly amazing (I tend to avoid all writing involving sports).
, Arturo Belano (whom I hear is the protagonist in [b:The Savage Detectives|63033|The Savage Detectives|Roberto Bolaño|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1342651149s/63033.jpg|2503920]) is somewhere in Africa and leafs through an anthology of French poetry (La poésie contemporaine de langue française depuis 1945
), an occasion to comment on poets and their writings, as he also does in the story Vagabond in France and Belgium
. I am truly ashamed, as I've heard only about a couple of these writers... Now I understand Mike Puma, who takes his recommendations from Bolaño!