. . . but they have no interest in real combat, when the great masters struggle against that something, that something that terrifies us all, that something that cows us and spurs us on, amid blood and mortal wounds and stench.

08 February 2010


Bolaño loves to jerk these journalists out of their accustomed milieu and set them adrift. Oscar Fate's previous area was politics and “social issues” affecting the black community, and then he is sent off to Mexico to write up boxing. Guadalupe Roncal previously worked the City Desk in Mexico City before being assigned to report the killings in a sort of undercover role. Later, we meet Sergio González, another Mexico City reporter whose previous beat was The Arts, for goodness sakes. (I do not think that last piece of information will spoil anything for anyone here.)

I am resistant to pawing through a writer's life for clues about his work. Yet, I have already done that concerning that mockery of the Chilean literary establishment. Here, one has to speculate that during his work as a journalist, Bolaño himself experienced some similar experience of being thrown into something that was over his head, at least initially.

* * * * * * * * * *

We do encounter some real deal, professional crime reporters, male and female, ___________. But only briefly. They are all soon dead. We can only speculate as to whether Oscar Fate ever did write anything about the killings. . .or the boxing match either, for that matter.

I, too, anticipate a veritable fiesta of thoughtful posts in less than eight days now, __________!

Thank you for giving the warning about the spoiler in The New Yorker discussion, ___________. I neglected to mention that.

I was interested to note how few comments were posted in that discussion. The book obviously shelled out a lot of New Yorker readers, too. On the other hand, those book discussions are buried in the magazine's web site in a way that makes them difficult to find. The comments that were posted were generally thoughtful, however.

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