. . . 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.

19 February 2010

Los suicidas

_________, thank you so much for taking the time to transcribe that passage from The Savage Detectives. I have not read that novel. Interesting. It is apparent that Bolaño is awfully fond of this metaphor or symbol or whatever it is. I appreciate that he could be accused of being heavy-handed with this stuff at times, with some justification. My response would be that there is nothing necessarily wrong with heavy-handedness. It all depends on the hand.

That business about those scum having eaten the worm is a beautiful thing, isn't it?

All I can say is that based upon my observations only, I am so happy that I quit drinking before I ever discovered Mexican mezcal. I would never have survived it.

I want to add a piece of language trivia that signifies nothing whatsoever. I hope the fluent Spanish speakers attending will correct anything I say that is wrong here.

Initially, that word suicida, suicide victim, puzzled me because of the feminine ending. Initially, I thought suicidas referred to women suicide victims. But no. There was the definite masculine article “los,” which can be indefinite as to gender because it is plural.

It turns out that suicida is one of those rare Spanish words that can be either masculine or feminine. In other words, there is no such word as suicido for a man who commits suicide. All suicide victims, men or women, are suicidas. Apparently, “the male suicide victim” would be “el suicida,” which certainly looks weird to me.

A lot of asylums in this book, Maria. A lot of asylums.

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