18: Roberto Bolano, the ultimate unreliable narrator

I’ve recently been semi-fascinated by the idea of the unreliable narrator. I like to be somewhat playful when writing, and I think it makes for a richer experience for the reader if he or she has to make some decisions along the way. The writer can’t do all the work, right?

Anyway, I read much of Savage Detectives, by Roberto Bolano. I finally gave up. I just wasn’t enjoying it, although that may something to do with the fact that, at the time, I only had time to read a few pages a night. The book is complicated. A few pages a night is short shrift. Now, 2666 is the magnum opus du jour (see Gravity’s Rainbow, Infinite Jest, Underworld). Personally, I’m going to hold out.

Came across this New York Times article yesterday. Seems that Bolano may have embellished, or let others embellish, his life story. Seems about right. The author as the ultimate unreliable narrator. Very meta.

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