Between Parentheses : Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998-2003
Between Parentheses collects most of the newspaper columns and articles Bolano wrote during the last five years of his life, as well as the texts of some of his speeches and talks and a few scattered prologues. "Taken together," as the editor Ignacio Echevarria remarks in his introduction, they provide "a personal cartography of the writer: the closest thing, among all his writings, to a kind of fragmented 'autobiography.'" Bolano's career as a nonfiction writer began in 1998, the year he became famous overnight for The Savage Detectives; he was suddenly in demand for articles and speeches, and he took to this new vocation like a duck to water. Cantankerous, irreverent, and insufferably opinionated, Bolano also could be tender (about his family and favorite places) as well as a fierce advocate for his heroes (Borges, Cortazar, Parra) and his favorite contemporaries, whose books he read assiduously and promoted generously. A demanding critic, he declares that in his "ideal literary kitchen there lives a warrior" he argues for courage, and especially for bravery in the face of failure. Between Parentheses fully lives up to his own demands: "I ask for creativity from literary criticism, creativity at all levels."
- Hardback | 352 pages
- 139.7 x 205.74 x 35.56mm | 544.31g
- 26 Jul 2011
- New Directions Publishing Corporation
- New York, United States
The essays in Between Parentheses preserve for us the voice of the seasoned and accomplished Bolano, the man who, as he was whipping up these various tapas, was also tending the large pot simmering with the eventual 2666, and was very likely aware that his days were numbered. I would like to have the culture, the knowledge, that would let me enjoy his responses to his fellow writers as they were meant to be enjoyed, but even without that and it is a considerable deficit the collection delights. How not? Spirit, where it exists, shines through. Roberto Bolano was one of the ones for whom literature was everything. --Sven Birkets"