Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998-2003

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The essays of Roberto Bolano in English at last.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 Echevarría 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 ...
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Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998-2003

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Overview

The essays of Roberto Bolano in English at last.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 Echevarría 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, Cortázar, 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.”
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Editorial Reviews

Dwight Garner
The excellent thing about Between Parentheses is how thoroughly it dispels any incense or stale reverence in the air. It's a loud, greasy, unkempt thing. Reading it is not like sitting through an air-conditioned seminar with the distinguished Señor Bolaño. It's like sitting on a barstool next to him, the jukebox playing dirty flamenco, after he's consumed a platter of Pisco sours. You may wish to make a batch yourself before you step onto the first page…Bolaño's buzzing mind is a pleasure to dip into.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Containing literary criticism, notes about friends and acquaintances and beloved geographical locations, as well as speeches and prologues, this stellar collection of Bolaño's non-fiction creates, as Echevarría states in his introduction, "a kind of fragmented 'autobiography.'" Bolaño discusses many of the major Spanish language writers of his time, including Argentineans Roberto Arlt and Osvaldo Lamborghini and fellow Chilean Nicanor Parra, among many, many others (wonderfully ranging widely, from Thomas Harris to Philip K. Dick). Bolaño provides remarkable insight on his own writing, noting "everything that I've written is a love letter or a farewell letter to my own generation." His advice to other writers is equally eloquent; "literature," he states, "has nothing to do with national prizes and everything to do with a strange rain of blood, sweat, semen, and tears." The depictions of the places he's lived and visited are evocative and provide depth and detail into his "fragmented" life (particularly when he describes the Catalonian town of Blanes and his withdrawl from heroin on the beach). This is exciting writing from a cherished writer. Wimmer won the National Book Critic Circle's 'Best Novel of the Year' award for her translation of the author's 2666.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Biblioklept
“‘More, more, more’ might be a simple way to summarize this book.”
The Los Angeles Review of Books
“All the world is adrift in his universe, and the essays in Between Parentheses make it clear why departure was always Bolano’s real homecoming, and exile the only literary option. 'A writer outside his native country seems to grow wings,' he asserted. The brilliant flights of his novels lend credence to the theory.”
Dwight Garner - The New York Times
“He’s the most controversial and commanding figure to have emerged since Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa began issuing mature work in the early 1960’s… The excellent thing about Between Parentheses is how thoroughly it dispels any incenses or stale reverence in the air. It’s a loud, greasy, unkeppt thing. Reading it is not like sitting through an air-conditioned seminar with the distinguished Senor Bolano. It’s like sitting on a barstool next to him, the jukebox playing dirty flamenco.”
Marcela Valdes - The Nation
“Bolano’s judgments are a joy to read. Between Parentheses is a treasure chest: filled with odd glittering jewels and fistfuls of gold. In these essays we hear Bolano’s real voice, the one he often disguised through the ventriloquism of his fiction.”
J.C. Gabel - TimeOut Chicago
“What a refreshing surprise it is to hear Bolaño in his own words.”
Donna Seaman - Booklist
“Bolaño frolics in pithy essays on friendship, women, ancestors, and courage. He’s irreverent and purposeful, cerebral and casual, insouciantly opinionated and ironic, and charming and funny.”
Marianne Moore - Zyzzyva
“One emerges from Between Parentheses with the desire to read more — to read more Bolano, re-read Borges, to discover Nicanor Parra and Enrique Lihn and Carmen Boullosa.”
Sven Birkets - Aysmptote
“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.”
The Guardian
“These pieces include sketches from a return visit to Bolaño's native Chile, short newspaper columns largely about books and authors, and glimpses of life with his family in Blanes, a Catalan seaside town. Tentatively compared to 'a kind of fragmented autobiography' in Echevarría's introduction, the collection has obvious omissions as a memoir but does reflect Bolaño's multi-faceted, contradictory personality, by turns engaging and cantankerous, shy and outspoken and strangely obsessed with ranking fellow writers.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780330510684
  • Publisher: Picador USA
  • Publication date: 3/28/2012

Meet the Author

Author of 2666 and many other acclaimed works, Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) was born in Santiago, Chile, and later lived in Mexico, Paris, and Spain. He has been acclaimed “by far the most exciting writer to come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time” (Ilan Stavans, The Los Angeles Times),” and as “the real thing and the rarest” (Susan Sontag). Among his many prizes are the extremely prestigious Herralde de Novela
Award and the Premio Rómulo Gallegos. He was widely considered to be the greatest Latin American writer of his generation. He wrote nine novels, two story collections, and five books of poetry, before dying in July 2003 at the age of 50.

Natasha Wimmer’s translation of Roberto Bolano’s 2666 won the National Book Award’s Best Novel of the Year as well as the PEN Prize.

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    Posted December 28, 2011

    Merchandise was in perfect condition.

    Merchandise was exactly as advertised; service was perfect.

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