Thursday, August 07, 2008

Beans and ancestors

[Typed out this morning to Levi Stahl, after finishing Richard Stark's partly-Buffalo-set The Outfit, luxuriously reading late into the night]

Just woke up from a dream in which a letter from Roberto Bolaño (to one of his translators) mentions Buffalo....The letter appears in the latest Triple Canopy.* The translator's letter mentions Buffalo and Niagara Falls, saying, "Of course, since you had only been in the country two days, I can't expect you to have visited either of these places," and mentions how nice it was to have him over for dinner. [He had apparently been in the U.S. recently, for the first time.]

Bolaño's letter is a marvel. He begins by saying, "Believe it or not, I had to travel to Buffalo as soon as I arrived, and had the opportunity to visit the famous Falls," and mentions a few local details that make it clear he did make the trip. Then he digresses on the wonderful dinner salad she prepared, writing that, curiously enough, every ingredient in the salad had some connection to a place in his life. The beans were from Venezuela, as were some of his ancestors; he lived for a time in Mexico, where the cheese was from, etc.

*I must have been thinking of this.

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