Roberto Bolano (1953 to 2003, born in Chile) is a very powerful greatly influential writer. Shortly before I began The Reading Life in July, 2009 I read his two major, and large, novels, 2666 centering around murders in Mexico and The Savage Detectives focusing on young poets mostly from Mexico City. Both these works were translated after his death from liver cancer. I hope to one day read them through slowly and post upon my experiences. Some books you post about the work, others you post about your experiences reading them.
Since beginning my blog I posted on two shorter novels. By Night in Chile is a monologue by a priest during the worst political times in Chile. I really liked Nazi Literature in the Americas, his delightful pseudo encyclopedia of extreme right wing writers. I read this twice. Occasionally The New Yorker will make available for public reading one of the several of the short stories they have published posthumously. I have posted on a few of these, mostly as largely reading journal entries and to let my interested readers know of the availability of these works.
Death and decay hang over Bolano's work. As "Clara" begins, the narrator tells us he fell in love with her when she was 18 and had a sexually exquisite body. The narrator described her as kind of a confused, not terribly bright young woman, she pursues a series of interests. She goes back to her home city, in Spain. In a while the man goes to spend a month with her. They have sex everyday and go to the movies. Life requires he go back to his home town. He invites her to move in with him but she declines. They lose touch with each other as the years go by. Both marry. We learn of Clara's decline in appearance, gaining weight. She against her real wishes to have a baby because her husband wants one. Bolano takes us nearly twenty years into Clara's life. The story ends with her
imminent death from cancer.
Bolano fans will enjoy this story for sure.
You can read the story here