Monday, October 08, 2007

The Bolano Effect

"The loves we have for cities", wrote Camus "are secret loves". And if we are to take this a bit further, the love that we have for writers or addiction to some is at times secret too. However, one must say that we find a particular rainbow haunting, a few sunsets too deeply sad, a few nights when restlessness rains loose a loose rain, and there we are, on our way, in the midst of this grip, this hold, this secret love.

Roberto Bolano, whom Sontag amongst others called a rare writer, has taken a hold over me, as the few readers of this blog might have noticed. I have become addicted to the unfixable loss that his writing leaves me with. Who cares about the outcome of this love like all other loves! The whirlwind sound of his words takes you on a journey that ends in poetry, in heartache and not just inside those words but afterwards as well. Have we not known all these characters before, that live in his pages or at least some of them, those who scribble poems in the margins of pages and read poems in the shower, leaving books and poems soggy and wet.

We know the climate of his novels, the raging sunsets of his cities and we know the beginning and outcome of such loves, for sometime surely some of us knew those who sang or loved when we too sang and loved and wrote names on trees.

Reading is not a recreational but a serious business and if reading is serious as writing is, as some would have us believe, then reading Bolano is to partake of that activity, to linger with him in the romance of writing, to simmer at the edge of those pages, and filter past those pages of love, rebellion and desire. Most of his characters exist before and after poetry, after life has failed them, as it always does, in the thundering heartache of night or in the mist of the early morning. There is no shame in saying that I find other literary fiction as rather tame after reading Bolano. Of course other literature and other writers exist and will come galore but the Bolano effect, as I have just called it, is different. With him is more tragedy, the awfulness of love, rebellion, poetry, music and heartache.

Bolano has written like no one else has before or perhaps I have not read anything like this. I try to accumulate these reading stones at this base of reading but I have given Bolano's stones different colours for they have given me new colours too, and yes, thunder, rain, poetry and literature.

I find myself getting a bit impatient waiting for his 2666, which is being rated better than The Savage Detectives!

(An interesting link)

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