Roberto Bolaño, top writer in the Post-Boom Latin American literature, died too young.

Bolaño is considered the most prominent writer in Latin America since the turn of the Century. Photo © Adrián Soto

Text and Pic. Adrián Soto

Bolaño was Chilean born writer, but he can also be considered Mexican or Spanish writer. He lives and wrote in these three countries. He was 15 years old when moved with his middle-class family from Chile to Mexico in 1968. In the Mexican Capital city he was witness of the army killing of students in the eve of the Olympic Game of 1968.
In Mexico he was involved in revitalize of a young poets movement, and he eventually wrote the Infrarealists group´s manifesto. During his Mexican years Balaño work mostly in poetry. In 1979 he published his poetry anthology in “Naked Boys under the Rainbow Fire”. Before that, in 1973, he traveled to Chile, and find his country in a massive unrest. General Augusto Pinochet was seized power and established a harsh dictatorship. Bolaño was arrested a few days, after which flew back to Mexico.
In late 1970´s he move to Barcelona with his mother and sister. During this period Bolaño, left poetry and start to write short stories. Many of his critics agreed that his later prose is nothing else than extended poetry. Also his personal experiences are very much present in his later works.
After married and having a child, Bolaño turn into fiction, far more remunerative than poetry. He finally make his name know in the literature circles after publishing in Barcelona three novels: The Skating ring (1993), The Distant Star (1996), and The Nazi Literature in Latin America (1996)

Breakthrough, The Savage Detectives

Bolaño finally get his breakthrough in 1998 with his novel “The Savage Detectives”. The book tells the story of a circle of radical and bohemian poets that start searching the roots of the Mexican and Latin American poetry. They go on searching for the truth in Africa, Europe, Middle- East and Latin America.
In a way the book is a chronicle of the defeat of a generations of young Latin Americans who thought they could build a better society where to live. This is the generation of Bolaño, himself born in 1953, but includes his mates born in 1960´s and 1970´s.
The Save Detectives won a number of very prestigious literary prizes, and many critics agreed that it mark the end of Boom or Magic Realism, the trademark of the Latin American literature since early 1960`s. The main authors of this school are Gabriel García, Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, José Donoso.
Bolaño suffered of liver disease, but continue to produce a lot. A significant number of books were published after his death in 2003, at the age of 50 years.
Some books are Amuleto that tell the drama of the students under the boots of the army in Mexico. By Night in Chile tells how the conservative branch of the Catholic Church Opus Dei collaborated with the dictatorship.
During his last year Bolaño work in his posthumous Magnus opus: 2666 The name of the book, is long way in the future, where the evil has prevailed. The books has 1 100 pages and is divided in five parts. Probably the most acclaimed is part four. It tell the feminicide occurring in Mexico in the Northern city of Ciudad Juarez. On other part it is the search for a mysterious German writer. Another tells the vicissitudes of a Chilean professor of Philosophy.

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