08 July 2014

By Night In Chile ~ Roberto Bolano


ugh... I know Bolaño is supposed to be a literary genius. I know he's like the Latino James Joyce. But seriously, this novella is one long run-on sentence. I simply could not get anything out of it. And yes, it's the deathbed narrative of a halfway-lucid elderly priest, so the nonsensical style is for a reason... but that doesn't make it readable. 

Many will appreciate Bolano's lack of convention, his eschewing the paragraph and the sinuous, stream of consciousness quality to Urrutia's deathbed narrative. But I found the lack of transitions, atypical structure, and ubiquity of ceaseless sentences grating.  

I give the author kudos for his style of writing, but the content was simply awful

Meh. This book was just Not For Me. The writing style had the trifecta of things I hate: no plot, sentences that ran on for pages, and no paragraph breaks at all. Roberto Bolano is supposed to be the greatest Latin American writer since sliced bread. I'll take their word for it. I'm just glad the book wasn't any longer than it was, or I would not have finished it.  

I think the low rating is largely my fault. This book requires one to concentrate. The stream of consciousness style of writing makes it difficult to put down and pick up again - which I did, after reading another novel in between - and the writing is dense. That being said, i would like to go back and read it more carefully at some point.