“Latin America’s Literary Outlaw,” Roberto Bolaño’s Best Novels Found Post-Mortem

The summer of 2003 was a sad time for Spanish literature lovers; Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño sadly left us. He spent his last days in Spain in a small town near Barcelona, the setting of one of his last books, The Third Reich.

Roberto Bolaño was born in Santiago de Chile in 1953 and fought actively against the dictatorship. He was eventually taken prisoner until an old high-school classmate recognized him and freed him. Bolaño eventually left Chile and traveled to Mexico, El Salvador, and finally Spain, where he and his wife lived until he passed away awaiting for a liver transplant in Barcelona. Many of his unreleased novels were found after his dead between his manuscripts.

His well known novel Savage Detectives (Los Detectives Salvajes), a non linear portrayal of young, bohemian artists, brought him recognition and multiple awards in 1998. Several critics compared “Savage Detectives” to the novel “Rayuela” (translated into English as “Hopscotch”) by Julio Cortázar.

He worked on his novel 2666 until his last days, which was finally published in 2004 after his death. 2666 is a detective novel featuring a character from Savage Detectives as the narrator. The novel follows four professors who are searching for lost loved ones while also trying to find a homicidal serial killer.

Read more about 2666 in the following links:

Time, “Bolaño’s 2666: The Best Book of 2008″

The New Yorker, Books Briefly Noted, “2666”

New York Times’ Sunday Book Review, “The Departed” 

The Guardian,  “Latin America’s Literary Outlaw”


Best Roberto Bolaño’s Quotes

“I kept having dreams all night. I thought they were touching me with their fingers. But dreams don’t have fingers, they have fists, so it must have been scorpions.”

― Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives

“The world is alive and no living thing has any remedy. That is our fortune.”

― Roberto Bolaño, The Last Interview and Other Conversations

“So everything lets us down, including curiosity and honesty and what we love best. Yes, said the voice, but cheer up, it’s fun in the end.”

― Roberto Bolaño, 2666