Thursday, May 27, 2010

El Secreto

There is an unwittingly funny passage in the Spanish edition of Ignacio Echevarria's introduction to "El Secreto del Mal," a still-untranslated collection of Roberto Bolano's stories, a passage that could easily have been cribbed from one of Jorge Luis Borges' metafictions or, more to the point, from one of Bolano's. Echevarria observes that Bolano's work is "governed by a poetics of incompleteness." Bolano tends to interrupt his stories with other stories, and those with other tales in turn. He spends page after page building tension, then mischievously buries the climax or neglects it altogether. This makes it difficult to determine, Echevarria laments, which "among the pieces that he did not end up publishing can be considered finished." —Ben Ehrenreich's review of 2666 in the L.A. Times

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