Monday, April 26, 2010

Antwerp, Roberto Bolano

BEST OF 2010

It is always nice to the progress of an artist. Even more interesting to witness the progress in reverse. Antwerp contains much of what Bolano would later write about at length- crime, fiction, whores, drugs, detectives, poetry, etc. In this "novel" we see the birth. His progress from writing poetry to a prose fiction. What would later turn into complete novelizations.

Antwerp is brief. Less than 100 pages. Containing about 50 different sections. Each section less than a page. The sections could be viewed as short stories. Prose poems. But, as you read further into the novel, you find characters being mentioned again and again. Images reappearing. Ideas emerging. I never fully grasp the entirety of the plot at play. But, does one need to in order to enjoy the work as fiction?

Bolano refers to this as his favorite novel. He wrote it for himself. Out of a need to write without the boundary of writing a novel. And, he succeded. The piece if like experimental fiction. Like performance art. I would best compare the novel to that of Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. Each page a photograph. A new glipse. A different perspective of inspiration.


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