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Last Evenings on Earth Paperback – April 30, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“The most influential and admired novelist of his generation in the Spanish-speaking world.” (Susan Sontag)
“Just behind the nervy, deadpan narrative a total breakdown perpetually looms.” (Andersen Tepper - Village Voice)
“Brilliant.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Widely known in the Spanish-speaking world as the premier writer of his generation.” (Dan Pope - Hartford Courant)
“If you haven't heard of Roberto Bolaño yet, you will soon.” (Benjamin Lytal - The New York Sun)
“Bolaño's characters yearn for amnesia as well as for the ability to connect to someone or something in the present.” (Stephanie Hanson - Los Angeles Times)
“[B]leakly luminous stories...” (Publishers Weekly)
“His generation's premier Latin-American writer... Bolaño's reputation and legend are in meteoric ascent.” (Larry Rohter - The New York Times)
“Conjures dreamlike worlds that shock with their familiarity.” (Philip Herter - St. Petersburg Times)
“Complex and provocative.” (International Herald Tribune)
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Top Customer Reviews
So concludes Bolano at the conclusion of one of the more engimatic stories in his collection, "Last Evenings on Earth." Ive been a big Bolano fan since reading his sprawling, loosely connected 3-part epic "2666." My regard for him only increased after I read "The Savage Detectives." I knew these two books were regarded as his highest achievement in fiction, so I was prepared that whatever else I might read in his relatively short career (he died at 50) would likely not raise the bar any higher.
Indeed, his short stories are wonderful; eschewing magical realism, they nevertheless manage to evoke something of that particular blend of personal passion, political violence, and phenomenolical alchemy that one has come to expect from Latin American literature, post Garcia Marquez. Bolano, however, is more of a skeptic, a realist, an existential tragedian. His stories depict lives--mostly those of writers and artists--lived on the outside of love, success, and easy contentment. There is, as Wayne Koestenbaum noted on the back of the book, a kind of "haze that floats above Bolano's fiction" that is addictive and that reminds me of the haze that fills Camus's "The Stranger." One senses that something bad will happen, that the characters know it (often they come right out and acknowledge their foreboding) and yet there is nothing they can do to alter the course of events towards the catastrophe.Read more ›
Several of the stories left me hanging, wishing for some sort of resolution. But that's life. It is also true that life continues beyond the point where a story would end; as Bolano remarks in one of the stories, "Days of 1978", "life is not as kind as literature." That is just one of the terse apercus or aphorisms sprinkled here and there. Another: "We never stop reading, although every book comes to an end, just as we never stop living, although death is certain." More generally, Bolano's writing is exceedingly simple and straightforward, yet whatever he depicts is fuzzy, slightly out of focus, and hence uncertain.
I have not read much modern Latin American fiction beyond Borges and Garcia Marquez, so I can't begin to place Bolano within that category. He does remind me somewhat of Borges, but not of Garcia Marquez. Other modern story-tellers of whom I am reminded, however, include Camus, Kafka, and Fellini, in that a certain mystery and unease pervades everything. I hesitate to stamp this collection "great literature", but it certainly is worth reading and for me it is good enough to seek out and read one of Bolano's novels.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bolaños stories are uniquely from a world that is both familiar and bizarre. He consistently delves into the world of literature, writers and poets in his stories and yet... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Osvaldo Q
It's been a few years since I've read any Bolano (2666 left me scarred), so I figured it was time to plunge back in. Read morePublished 8 months ago by jafrank
dead SA writer rambling on about other dead SA writers. Cocktail party fodder but boring.Published 17 months ago by Read&Sell
Typical Bolano; but reading a bit little too typical. An existential collection of stories with Bolano's favourite characters: unsuccessful writers.Published on January 18, 2014 by Shivaji Das
each story is different enough in narrative, yet all share similarity in style -- a great style! very real mixture of coincidence in the story line which often covers large time... Read morePublished on January 2, 2014 by Ramses Visher
Bolano is incomparable. For long serious wonderful reviews of Bolano see biblioklept. Why do I have to write eight more words just to meet the requirements of this software. Read morePublished on December 4, 2013 by abbeysbooks
Fan of Bolano. Just not this book. Not sure why. It's not bad, I suppose, but it's not good either. I like his longer pieces over all.Published on November 18, 2013 by BronxRev