“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.” (Dwight Garner - The New York Times)
“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.” (Marcela Valdes - The Nation)
“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.” (The Los Angeles Review of Books)
“What a refreshing surprise it is to hear Bolaño in his own words.” (J.C. Gabel - TimeOut Chicago)
“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.” (Donna Seaman - Booklist)
“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.” (Marianne Moore - Zyzzyva)
“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.” (Sven Birkets - Aysmptote)
“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.” (The Guardian)
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.