El País Reviews Bolaño and Bolanomania Again

El País has another article about Bolanomania in the United States. (You can see a previous post I did on the subject here). It talks about some of the reviews he has received, how most talk about his biography as much or more than the books and notes the controversy over his heroin usage. The article also notes that one’s reputation after death is based on luck. The author notes that the translation into English has created a different Bolaño, a Bolaño that Americans read from within their own cultural framework. Nothing surprising there. He goes on to compare Bolaño to Kerouac and suggests Americans are placing reading Kerouac and the Beat’s vitalism into Bolaños vitalism and from this reading they are culturally locating Bolaño.

Probably the North American reader recognizes a diction en these novels that es not dissimilar and lets the reader make the book their own, with local flavor and its riches. In English the books are not only very literary and miticulous, pasionate and brillant; they are, over all, vitalist.

The grand tradition of North American vitalist prose, in effect, has been the setting where the various styles of fiction characteristically Yankee were defined. The greatest stylist of this style is Jack Kerouac, and his On the Road, written in 1951 and rejected by 19 publishers before its publication in 1957, is a a modern classic. Even though the Beat Generation ended up being devoured by its own reputation, its works are more serious than the image of its authors, simplified to the point of being taken granted, and converted into merchandise. The brilliance of that vibrant, radiant, fluid, and unpredictable prose echoes like a spell in the pages of Bolaño.

Probablemente el lector norteamericano reconoce en estas novelas una dicción que no le es ajena, y que le permite hacer suya, con apetito local, su riqueza. En inglés no son sólo muy literarias y minuciosas, apasionadas y brillantes; son, sobre todo, vitalistas.

La gran tradición de la prosa norteamericana vitalista, en efecto, ha sido el escenario donde se definen los varios estilos de la ficción característicamente yanqui. El mayor estilista de este estilo es Jack Kerouac, y su On the road, escrita en 1951 y rechazada por 19 editoriales antes de su publicación en 1957, un clásico moderno. Aunque la generación Beat terminó devorada por su biografía popular, sus obras son más serias que la imagen de sus autores, simplificados al punto de darse por leídos, convertidos en mercancía residual. El brillo de esa prosa vivaz, irradiante, fluida, imprevisible, resuena como un conjuro en las páginas de Bolaño.

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