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The Canonization of Roberto Bolaño

Garth Risk Hallberg has a solid overview of Bolaño and why he matters at The Millions:

In American literature, experimentalism is kept like a domesticated animal. For twenty-two hours a day, it sleeps under the kitchen table. Occasionally, when we get bored, we trot it out and put it through its tricks to remind ourselves that, hey, we’re as hip as the next guy. But an avant-garde novel is never going to change the way we see the world.

Well, The Savage Detectives blew my pessimism all to hell. Aiming to usurp the throne of literature from Octavio Paz (and, later, Gabriel Garcia Marquez), Roberto Bolano produced something unselfconsciously yet distinctly his own.



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