Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles and Speeches, by Roberto Bolaño

By Roberto Bolaño

Unique e-book: 2011

The essays of Roberto Bolano in English at last.
Between Parentheses collects lots of the newspaper columns and articles Bolano wrote over the last 5 years of his existence, in addition to the texts of a few of his speeches and talks and some scattered prologues. “Taken together,” because the editor Ignacio Echevarría comments in his creation, they supply “a own cartography of the author: the nearest factor, between all his writings, to one of those fragmented ‘autobiography.’” Bolano’s profession as a nonfiction author begun in 1998, the 12 months he turned well-known in a single day for The Savage Detectives; he was once abruptly popular for articles and speeches, and he took to this new vocation like a duck to water. Cantankerous, irreverent, and insufferably opinionated, Bolano additionally may be smooth (about his relations and favourite areas) in addition to a fierce suggest for his heroes (Borges, Cortázar, Parra) and his favourite contemporaries, whose books he learn assiduously and promoted generously. A hard critic, he announces that during his “ideal literary kitchen there lives a warrior”: he argues for braveness, and particularly for bravery within the face of failure. Between Parentheses totally lives as much as his personal calls for: “I ask for creativity from literary feedback, creativity in any respect levels.”

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Additional info for Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998-2003

Sample text

Now look up"; again the hoopoe obliges. With these commands, I should like to suggest, the lesson on how to build a city is already begun. Pisthetaerus has drawn a line; he has defined the difference between higher and lower—a boundary which, as Pisthetaerus will immediately observe, is of considerable importance if the birds can realize the advantage of their position. " Pisthetaerus asks the hoopoe. "The clouds and the sky," Tereus answers. " "Firmament? " says the bird. To follow Pisthetaerus' explanation, we shall have to spend a moment with the Greek text.

26 Such simplicity, while it may be charming, strikes the Athenian visitors as a sign of witlessness, and Pisthetaerus, when he conceives his great plan for the birds, advises the hoopoe that they must, first and foremost, cease flying about everywhere with their jaws gaping. 27 But the subtler point in Pisthetaerus' advice lies, I suspect, in the adverb "everywhere" (pantachei, 165). This kind of flightiness is, says Pisthetaerus, a dishonorable business: the Greek word he uses is atimon, literally, without time, which indeed means honor, but, more concretely, applies to privileges of rank or office, and to the financial compensation for those and other services.

But in the main they think of themselves simply as the poor (463; cf. 703), and Bdelycleon can even compare them to olive pickers— that is to say, day laborers or hired hands, the most despised form of labor—for their dependency on wages (712). 32 Bdelycleon effectively ridicules the accusation by observing that every vegetable dealer screams tyranny if one shops next door (488-507), but the point, though witty, reveals only that the chorus is mistaken about Bdelycleon's personal motives, which, he says, are to provide for his father's comfort (503-6).

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