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Nazi Literature in the Americas (New Directions Paperbook) Paperback – May 29, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
"Nazi Literature in the Americas" reads like a history (but not in a bad way). Bolano creates dozens of personalities, each with intricite details and interesting character traits that even a third-party (Bolano) can convey gently. Each character exists throughout North and South America in the twentieth-century, some not dying until 2040 (which Bolano uses to hint that these people still exist into the later twenty-first century).
As the title suggests, each character is tied, in Bolano fashion, to fascist literary movements in their respective time period and country. Edelmira Thompson de Mendiluce, the first chronicled in the novel, is a bourgeois Argentine who met Hitler in the 1930's and was sympathetic to the cause ever since. Max Mirebalais, is a poor Haitian who steals from other European poets and crafts "many masks," which he uses to create an ideology of hate. Argentino Schiaffino is a thug from Buenos Aires who loves soccer and violence and believes in the heirarchy of races and is on the run most of his life for murder.
One gets the point. The problem is, this doesn't half convey the textual density and complexity of the work. The way the characters interact within each others stories, how one influences the other, etc.Read more ›
The book is a collection of imaginary biographies of invented right wing writers from Latin and North America, both historic and from the future. Bolaño knew something about political writers, having himself been imprisoned in Chile as a suspected left wing terrorist. What he provides here is a parody of both the right wing views and of literary criticism. His invented writers are intentionally absurd, often leading bizarre and tragic lives which are beautifully crafted in their descriptions. It's an exceptional achievement that these all hang together in a complete imagined world with the book complete with bibliographies of their works - often covering obscure and strange titles. I particularly likes the pilot-poet whose chosen medium is sky writing and the two football supporter gang leaders in Argentina who in their more tender moments resort to poetry.
There are plenty of amusing moments and the effect is a clever parody of literature, political views and literary criticism. There's an almost Bob Dylan-like take on the absurdities of analysis of these sad writers.
In saying that, if this is your first introduction to Bolaño, I'd recommend starting elsewhere - probably with The Savage Detectives. Why?Read more ›
This is hugely inventive and very funny,not only satarising the vapid nazi ideology that has dogged Latin American politics and had many apologists(Peron for example)but also having a good dig at all the pretentious literary schools and fads.Most of the authors here repeat and pay homage to the incoherrent mystical ramblings and prejudices that was Hitler's 'Mein Kamph'
Bolano also intermingles real literary figures and their works as many of his featured 'writer's' not only shamelessly plagiarise their work,but nazify it too! So good is Bolano that I can see many of Bolano's creations and histories being deemed as fact in the future,in much the same way as Conan Doyle's fictional account of the discovery of the Marie Celeste has convinced people to this day that hot plates of food and drinks were found neat and untouched on the tables.
Truly original,truly inventive,truly delightful in a very dark way. Bolano creates a new genre himself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Roberto Bolano is a virtuoso of the strange, dark, and ominous. He's also funny as hell.Published 13 months ago by William
Bolano seems like someone who turned making fun of doomed, marginal writers into a sort of science. The venal, pathetic right wingers and the world they occupy in this book are... Read morePublished on February 15, 2012 by jafrank
This collection of 30 odd " hagliographies"(obituaries of fictitious Pan American writers of the 20th Century) gives Bolano enormous scope for his imagination but perhaps due to my... Read morePublished on November 13, 2010 by Kiwifunlad
Biographies of approximately 30 invented right-wing writers from Western Hemisphere countries. Two South American poets fight on the Nationalist side during the Spanish Civil War;... Read morePublished on October 25, 2010 by Ilya
At first glance, this book does not appear to be a novel. Instead, it looks like a collection of richly detailed obituaries and bibliographic notes. Read morePublished on June 19, 2010 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith
... that appear at the ends of tunnels." "... literature, which is a surreptitious form of violence ..." "... Read morePublished on June 15, 2010 by Gio
"Nazi Literature in the Americas" is child's play. Anyone who possesses the literary and historical breadth to understand the author's meanderings will find the effort laughable. Read morePublished on May 28, 2010 by Garcil
Had Roberto Bolano lived to see the near-religious following his publications have cultivated in the United States, he'd have undoubtedly been barraged by English-speaking critics... Read morePublished on December 27, 2009 by M. Locher