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Almost As Strange A The Truth,
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This review is from: Nazi Literature in the Americas (Hardcover)
When I approach a satirical work I follow a simple rubric: does it make me laugh. The honest belly laugh is, for me, the "scathe" in scathing satire. There is not a single chapter in Roberto Bolano's "Nazi Literature in America" that failed to elicit howls of laughter sometimes accompanied by tears. Bolano presents the reader with a compendium of fictional biographies of non-existent writers. With each entry one gets the impression that he has taken Hannah Arendt's "the banality of evil" seriously. Each author is presented in an uncritical and dead-pan manner which forces the reader to ferret out the "evil" in the context of his/her "banal" biographical narrative. Not a single "author" in "Nazi Literature" approaches anything like genius. Even those who live rather colorful lives write in rather turgid prose and aimless fiction that produces a sort of stupor in their readership. This, I think is the key to understanding what Bolano is really up to. He may have had Goya's famous etching in mind:"El sueno de la razon produce monstruos" (the sleep of reason brings forth monsters).