Right. So where was I?
The first book was Peter Carey's Theft. Which was pretty good.
2. Roberto Bolaño. Everybody's talking about Bolaño these days. Everybody's talking about Savage Detectives. I haven't read it. I have no idea how similar it is to Last Evenings on Earth. Which I did read. And which I loved.
If you haven't already, do check out the bits I excerpted previously:
From "Enrique Martin."
Last Evenings is short stories. I'm not much for short stories in general. Maybe it's time I stopped saying that, seeing as how most short stories I encounter turn out to be quite enjoyable. Still I don't generally search them out of my own accord. I should just get over it. But, whatever.
Where was I? Last Evenings. Left me breathless, and aching, and puzzled, and sad — all in a good way. In awe.
I'm reminded very much of Paul Auster, in particular The New York Trilogy and The Red Notebook. There's not much to The Red Notebook — it's filled with anecdotes, mere sketches; it doesn't have much by way of "literary" quality except for being a bunch of neat little stories. But within them are the kernels of all the other stories. It strikes me that Bolaño's stories are grown from such a notebook.
Chance, or destiny. Mysterious phonecalls. Encounters pregnant with meaning. Or not. The question of coincidence. The connections, the causal relations we draw in the active observation of our own life.
The style, too: clipped, telegraphic, to the point. Mostly. At times there's something a little more circumlocutory, a little more European, a little more like Calvino. With lovely, heart-poundingly philosophical digressions.
I'm not sure that the bits I excerpted are a representative sampling of Last Evenings (let alone Bolaño's work as a whole), nor that they adequately demonstrate any point I might be trying to make above.
But Last Evenings on Earth is beautiful, and I'm very keen to read more by Roberto Bolaño.