Chile vs. Italy [World Cup of Literature: Quarterfinals]
The first quarterfinal matchup features two prominent, stellar authors: Roberto Bolaño represents Chile with his novel By Night in Chile, facing off against Italian author Elena Ferrante and her Days of Abandonment.
Bolaño made it to this point by annihilating the Netherlands and Koch’s The Dinner by a score of 3-0, then taking out Brazil’s Buarque and Budapest by a score of 3-1.
Ferrante got here by knocking off England’s Zadie Smith and NW 5-3 and then getting by Japan’s Haruki Murakami and 1Q84 by a score of 3-2.
So here we go . . .
Trevor Berrett: Chile
Two brutal teams come together today, Italy stern and frowning because for them this is a real fight, Chile smirking because they already know the fight doesn’t matter: it’s after the match that the storm of shit begins.
Rhea Lyons: Italy
I love By Night in Chile but I identify with Olga. She is close to my heart.
Jeffrey Zuckerman: Italy
With the first line, Italy scored with a direct, violent kick not even the world’s fastest goalie could have seen coming: “One April afternoon, right after lunch, my husband announced that he wanted to leave me.” And, with a last-minute headbutt, Chile finally scored in the final minute of the game. But it was too late: Italy’s Ferrante played with a fire and a speed that Chile’s Bolaño could never have hoped to match.
Shaun Randol: Chile
In By Night in Chile, a lucid man abandons his people. In Days of Abandonment, a woman abandoned loses her mind. Chile’s ball-handling is steady and consistent. The bench is deep and there’s a real sense of teamwork. Abandonment’s play is frantic, uneven, and the striker—Olga—is a ball hog.
George Carroll: Chile
There’s a restaurant in Berkeley, CA called Cafe Gratitude. The entrees are named “I Am Terrific” (Pad Thai), “I Am Magical” (Black Bean Burger), “I Am Great” (Granola), and so on. The last time I was there, the server approached me and, as a greeting, informed me what she was grateful for, then asked me that same. Maybe I had low blood sugar, maybe I thought it was silly, maybe I didn’t want to discuss my wife and dog. But I didn’t answer, didn’t participate in the ordering ritual. Today, I might have said that I’m grateful for book recommendations from my trusted friends.
Paul Yamazaki from City Lights Books suggested that I read The Savage Detectives. Which I did, then more, and more. I’m not one of those I-read-Bolano-back-when fans; I hate those assholes. I get to recommend him to others now, without the cloying pretension.
I’ve got nothing against Ferrante. Reading Story of a New Name for #BTBA2014 was a pleasant experience.
By Night in Chile is the clear winner. If it should lose, I suggest a double WCOL inquiry into this match and, of course, the Marias/Murnane match.
Jeff Waxman: Chile
And there you have it, Roberto Bolaño’s By Night in Chile moves on to the semifinals to play either How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone or Austerlitz.