cover image Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998-2003

Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998-2003

Roberto Bola%C3%B1o, trans. from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer, intro. by Ignacio Echevarr%C3%ADa. New Directions, $24.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-8112-1814-6

Containing literary criticism, notes about friends and acquaintances and beloved geographical locations, as well as speeches and prologues, this stellar collection of Bola%C3%B1o's non-fiction creates, as Echevarr%C3%ADa states in his introduction, "a kind of fragmented %E2%80%98autobiography.'" Bola%C3%B1o discusses many of the major Spanish language writers of his time, including Argentineans Roberto Arlt and Osvaldo Lamborghini and fellow Chilean Nicanor Parra, among many, many others (wonderfully ranging widely, from Thomas Harris to Philip K. Dick). Bola%C3%B1o provides remarkable insight on his own writing, noting "everything that I've written is a love letter or a farewell letter to my own generation." His advice to other writers is equally eloquent; "literature," he states, "has nothing to do with national prizes and everything to do with a strange rain of blood, sweat, semen, and tears." The depictions of the places he's lived and visited are evocative and provide depth and detail into his "fragmented" life (particularly when he describes the Catalonian town of Blanes and his withdrawl from heroin on the beach). This is exciting writing from a cherished writer. Wimmer won the National Book Critic Circle's %E2%80%98Best Novel of the Year' award for her translation of the author's 2666. (May)