22 August 07 | E.J. Van Lanen

To continue our wall-to-wall Bolaño coverage:

Vertigo, the blog that collects all things Sebald, points us to two new books about Sebald. We already talked about the first one, but the second one may be even more interesting. It’s called The Archimedean Author: Roberto Bolaño, W.G. Sebald, and Narrative After Borges and seeks to find points of comparison between the two authors.

There’s a sample of Jessie Ferguson’s book online (or it appears to be a sample anyway).

Sebald’s break with “straightforward conceptions of the novel” may be the more extreme case of the two: he writes in a superficially documentary style and includes photographs and other visual reproductions (e.g. of passports, journal entries, etc.) to both underscore and call into question the facticity of his subject matter. All of his novels deal to some extent with the destruction of the physical landscape by human and natural acts, and with the reflection and refraction of this pattern of destruction in the suffering and troubled memories of the human inhabitants of those landscapes (most of them in England, Germany, Switzerland, and other parts of Europe); thus a variety of complex relationships arise between the fragmented, documentaristic narrative and the themes of severed and fugitive memories and experiences.

Bolaño, on the other hand, is a writer consciously embedded in a “Latin American” literary tradition; his work frequently confronts the traumas of Latin American political experience during the second half of the twentieth century, in particular the fall of the socialist government of Salvador Allende in Chile and episodes of violence in Mexico (the series of unsolved murders in Ciudad Juárez, on the border with Texas, in the 1990s, or the police invasion of the Universidad Nacional in 1968 culminating in the Tlatelolco massacre). He is less concerned than Sebald with landscapes and physical documentation of history, but equally, if not more, concerned with literary texts and with the relationship between literary production and political responsibility, two preoccupations linked throughout the history of the postwar Latin American novel.

Thankfully we have access to a University library, or I’d probably be spending my lunch money on this one.


Comments are disabled for this article.
....
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders
Reviewed by Kaija Straumanis

Hello and greetings in the 2017 holiday season!

For those of you still looking for something to gift a friend or family member this winter season, or if you’re on the lookout for something to gift in the. . .

Read More >

The Size of the World
The Size of the World by Branko Anđić
Reviewed by Jaimie Lau

Three generations of men—a storyteller, his father and his son—encompass this book’s world. . . . it is a world of historical confusion, illusion, and hope of three generations of Belgraders.

The first and last sentences of the first. . .

Read More >

Island of Point Nemo
Island of Point Nemo by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès
Reviewed by Katherine Rucker

The Island of Point Nemo is a novel tour by plane, train, automobile, blimp, horse, and submarine through a world that I can only hope is what Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès’s psyche looks like, giant squids and all.

What. . .

Read More >

The Truce
The Truce by Mario Benedetti
Reviewed by Adrianne Aron

Mario Benedetti (1920-2009), Uruguay’s most beloved writer, was a man who loved to bend the rules. He gave his haikus as many syllables as fit his mood, and wrote a play divided into sections instead of acts. In his country,. . .

Read More >

I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World
I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World by Kim Kyung Ju
Reviewed by Jacob Rogers

Kim Kyung Ju’s I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World, translated from the Korean by Jake Levine, is a wonderful absurdist poetry collection. It’s a mix of verse and prose poems, or even poems in the. . .

Read More >

Kingdom Cons
Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera
Reviewed by Sarah Booker

Yuri Herrera is overwhelming in the way that he sucks readers into his worlds, transporting them to a borderland that is at once mythical in its construction and powerfully recognizable as a reflection of its modern-day counterpart. Kingdom Cons, originally. . .

Read More >

The Invented Part
The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Imagine reading a work that suddenly and very accurately calls out you, the reader, for not providing your full attention to the act of reading. Imagine how embarrassing it is when you, the reader, believe that you are engrossed in. . .

Read More >

A Simple Story: The Last Malambo
A Simple Story: The Last Malambo by Leila Guerriero
Reviewed by Emilee Brecht

Leila Guerriero’s A Simple Story: The Last Malambo chronicles the unique ferocity of a national dance competition in Argentina. The dance, called the malambo, pushes the physical and mental limits of male competitors striving to become champions of not only. . .

Read More >

The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof
The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof by Cesar Aira
Reviewed by Will Eells

Aira continues to surprise and delight in his latest release from New Directions, which collects two novellas: the first, The Little Buddhist Monk, a fairly recent work from 2005, and The Proof, an earlier work from 1989. There are a. . .

Read More >

Agnes
Agnes by Peter Stamm
Reviewed by Dorian Stuber

The narrator of Peter Stamm’s first novel, Agnes, originally published in 1998 and now available in the U.S. in an able translation by Michael Hofmann, is a young Swiss writer who has come to Chicago to research a book on. . .

Read More >

The next few events from our Translation Events Calendar: See More Events >