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Ad or read about from his very brief Antwerp to the enormous 2666 contain references to writers and critics and tiny literary magazines some made up a few well nown and others real but so obscure that they might as well be made up His most extreme excursion into this genre is probably Nazi Literature in the Americas a catalog of ultra right wing or fascist writers in both continents political fiction displayed through the medium of bibliographic fact Distant Star is an expansion of the final section of that earlier bookIf you ignore a few details here and there the plot is entirely literary It opens in Chile in the early 1970s during the socialist Allende regime The author narrator is a university student in Concepci n attending weekly poetry workshops run by Juan Stein though occasionally attending the rival workshop of Diego Soto across campus He is part of a group of friends all of whom are would be poets among them the beautiful and talented Garmendia sisters and an elegant young man rud to be the lover of at least one of them Alberto Ruiz Tagle Ruiz Tagle is always insightful and courteous in the workshops but his own polished poems are strangely impersonal as though they were not really his at all But then comes the right wing coup of September 1973 Many of the original group of poets including the author are arrested or disappear Some survive some resurface in other parts of the world some are never seen again Ruiz Tagle meanwhile reappears under his real name Carlos Wieder as a daring air force pilot who writes his poems in smoke in the skies of Chile and makes a sensational impression as a photographer For a while he is the talk of the town but then he too disappears and the rest of the novel like the first few hundred pages of 2666 is a literary search for traces of him taking the writer ultimately to EuropeDry cerebral stuff you might think But no The novel has humor than most Bola o books that I have read and he is unfailingly interesting even when he pursuing minor literary movements including an almost plausible French one involving defecating on great books in order to achieve total assimilation with the classics And in fact all the literary discussion is a cloak for something else those few details I studiously ignored in the previous paragraph A couple of episodes only no than ten pages in all but they are what give the book its true impact The strategy certainly worked for me but perhaps not uite so well as his later By Night in Chile which deals with the same period also beginning in a rarefied literary world but drilling longer and deeper into the dark side of the Pinochet regime by the end All the same a eyhole view of horror can be suggestive than a door opened wide A much better primer for 2666 than The Savage Detectives this one s short and involves the same sort of style themes characters geographic all over the placeness lists of books and writers some real some so obscure they may as well be made up soaring peaks and dry valleys but in this one there s skywriting Definitely a recommended wading pool if you re wary of the hypeheft of 2666 for which the average rating on goodreads right now somehow on a scale of 1 to 5 stars is 579 This short novel that flew through the dark clouds covering an eerie 70 s era Chile was a breathtaking and chilling narrative that I wish could have gone on for so much longer Intriguing with a hidden sinister element Bola o seeks to make sense of Chile s turbulent past He takes his obsession with poets adds the Chilean Air Force and in particular one Carlos Wieder to create a compelling read that despite it s short length turned out to read that despite it s short
length turned out to the best of work I have read so far Turn up any turned out to the best of work I have read so far Turn up any in Chile the poet Pablo Neruda used to say and five poets will crawl out The fictional narrator of Distant Star with little surprise is one of them a young Chilean to the far south of the country caught up in turbulent times enamoured of poetry political debate and the two stunningly beautiful Garmendia sisters Unfortunately for him and very soon for them as well as others the sisters only have eyes for another of the aspiring poets in their poetry workshop the aloof and mysterious figure of Alberto Ruiz Tagle Carlos Wieder a vaguely aristocratic young man who does not share the others political beliefs freedoms or bohemian lifestyles whilst also hiding a menacing secret The poetry workshops are taking place all over Chile in the early seventies just as the socialist president Salvador Allende is being overthrown and General Pinochet s brutal and victorious regime begins In the vertiginous first chapter of Distant Star we descend rapidly from the student world of late
nights literature and hopeless poetic passions to the ghastly realities of military repression murders disappearances and an all together uncertainty literature and hopeless poetic passions to the ghastly realities of military repression murders disappearances and an all together uncertainty what the future holdsMostly looking back at earlier times the narrator now living in Barcelona like so many of his countrymen is a haunted man He spent several months in a concentration camp Although he is eventually released without charge he finds he has been expelled from his university and has no chance of getting work in Pinochet s Chile He then begins a wandering life in Europe that is forever defined by this historical turning point Hearing about Ruiz Tagle s work as a writer he now learns Tagle is also Carlos Wieder after re invented himself as an officer in the Chilean Air Force He is continuing his poetic career however using the small planes he pilots he write messages in the skies over Chile combining violent and patriotic slogans This skywriting adds still further to the romantic reputation of the young officer so that when he announces that he is holding a photographic open day style exhibition in his apartment influential figures from the armed forces and Chilean high society show up for the showing But what they witness is the opposite of what they had been hoping for Instead of romantic bold heroic images they are suddenly confronted with the horror and brutality inflicted in the name of Chile All the while the narrator is still struggling to make a career and coming to terms of what happened to him his friends and a generation brought up on literatureThe novel is a mixture of poets political histories detective workmissing persons all done with a lingering sadness and a nostalgic mindset In the preface to Distant Star Bola o tells us that it is a development worked on from the last chapter of one of his earlier books his imaginary History of Nazi Literature in Latin America This is one hell of a development if that s what it is I could have breezed through this in a couple of hours but felt compelled to drag it out for as long as possibleI want to go back and read it again for the first time It had such an effect on me I found it that good. Ugh He once described his novel By Night in Chile as a tale of terror a situation comedy and a combination pastoral gothic novelMany Chilean authors have written about the bloody events of the early Pinochet years the abductions and murders Richard Eder commented in the The New York Times None has done it in such a dark and glittering fashion as Roberto Bolaño. Picked this one up second hand recently and synchronicity it turns out to be an expansion of one of the entries in Bola o s Nazi Literature in the Americas which I only recently read into a complete novel Seems like the only way to review this then is to consider if the expansion of the story of Carlos Wieder was really necessary and if this novel works on its own as a narrative without the clever framework of the phony literary encyclopediaThe answer is sure ok why not The narrative of the serial iller sky writing Nazi poet definitely works as a short novel In this longer setting Bola o makes clearer Wieder s significance as a Cabaret: A Roman Riddle kind of mythic figure for Pinochet s coup and reign of terror Because the aviator is both a poet and ailler he seems to draw the author and reader along with him into the cultural phenomenon that is a militaryfascist coup Looking back over the whole Nazi Literature project and even now stopping to reconsider many of the episodes of The Savage Detectives I m wondering if Bola o isn t meditatingexploring the poetics of violence or the violence perhaps underlying radical experiments in literary form even the fascism of literary groups avant garde movements and taboo breaking literature and art I wonder if as memories of the 20th century fade it isn t Nazism and Dada that remain the century s dual trademarks two word wars Stalinism juntas Be bop Punk Rock Surrealism and the BeatsSo this than Nazi Literature in the Americas asks the uestion how much does avant garde art have to do with fascist politics Is Nazi poetry possible Inevitable Or is it only that Nazis usurp even verse in the service of some fuhrer or otherI did particularly in retrospect feel like the Wieder episode of Nazi Literature in the America s was a bit too short and ineffable even as it was longer than most of the other entries in that fanciful literary faux encyclopedia Therefore Distant Star both fleshes out Weider s story and makes its portrait serious and chilling by removing its narrative from the earlier work s literary game I would read this one first if I were you for the dramatic impact then you could probably skip his entry in Nazi Literature in the Americas A book about poets in Chile during the 1973 coup d etat specifically Alberto Ruiz Tagle an aviator Ruiz Tagle s real name was Carlos Wieder and he had been part of the Chilean Air Force Throughout this short novel he appears and disappears and there are sightings in unusual places such as a prison for political dissidents It is not always obvious who the leftists are the right wingers or the Nazis Some claim to be poets and not political Was that possible in the Chile of that era There are figures that appear and then are disappeared It is not a narrative that is linear or easy to follow But Bola o creates an impression of a time and place that pulled me inAfter reading a GR friend s review of this novella I had thoughts to add While reading I thought of the Ulster poets Northern Ireland and wondered what causes poets and poetry to flourish in certain places and times another example The Beat Poets The poets of Bola o s story are both imagined and actual living poets It left me wanting to now about Chilean poets only being familiar with Neruda and Gabriela Mistral I have visited each of Neruda s three houses La Chascona in Santiago La Sebastiana in Valparaiso and Isla Negra Neruda is one of my favorite poets though it is notable that he stays deep in the background of this novel Bola o is not always easy to read although this novella is accessible Whether I or not I am ready to tackle his longer novels I am intrigued I also want to learn about poets and poetry in Chile
As Knowing Neruda And Mistral knowing Neruda and Mistral Nobel Laureates is not enough A brilliant miniature of the tenderness and sadism of 1970s Southern Cone poetry and politics Bola o as in The Savage Detectives works to undermine Art and Poetry as the cult of the pure while adoring both as accidental conseuences of living He accuses poetry and poets of the LuciferianRomantic lyrical gyre specifically in the role of a sky writing fascist serial iller poet and photographer who ushers in the Chilean Art of the Future with a photography exposition featuring the dismembered bodies of his victims But the book as is Bola o s wont celebrates poetry and poets in a wonkish almost slavish manner that is among the most literarily self referential in fiction While the original brilliance the Borgesian heights of Bola o s narrative imagination and the sure clear beautiful prose are first rate miraculous in fact how often we read about an author s IMAGINATION they pale beside Bela o what seizes me most about this book is the humanist tenderness Bola o somehow invokes in this study of murder poetry age and destruction This short novel has some similar elements to The Savage Detectives but it s much darker Bola o looks at the sinister side of Latin American poetry movements and politics as he explores the dark careers and identities of Alberto Ruiz Tagle aka Carlos Wieder a member of the Chilean air force who achieves as small measure of fame as a poet aviator practicing a dark ind of performance art by skywriting over the Andes The book s narrator who met Ruiz TagleWieder
in a series of poetry workshops during their youth describes the clues that he a friend and a series of poetry workshops during their youth describes the clues that he a friend and private investigator uncover in their efforts to find Wieder whom they suspect of committing violent acts The ominous political reality of Chile in the 1970s and after pervades Distant Star Friends and acuaintances disappear or are disappeared Fascist villains as well as leftist heroes move easily throughout the Americas "and Europe adopting and discarding identities as they go Bola o threads a strong sense of menace and evil about "Europe adopting and discarding identities as they go Bola o threads a strong sense of menace and evil about be detected throughout so this book is not a fast read in spite of its short length While reading I also considered some uestions of culpability What is our responsibility in the face of violence racism hatred and evil How do we as readers understand the impact of literary movements and art on crimes perpetrated against individuals What is the relationship between the individual and the repressive state And how do we as an audience negotiate the relationship between acts of violence and art All necessary uestions raised by Bola o in his inimitable style Forty years ago Chile s elected president Salvador Allende was overthrown by the Pinochet regime Reading Roberto Bola o novella DISTANT STAR today recollections of the coup events and especially their aftermath re emerge vividly in my mind In this work originally published in Spanish in 1996 the author confronts us with different inds of regime collaboration from the activist to the sections of society that see themselves as standing innocently at the sidelines While fictionalizing. The star of Roberto Bolaño's hair raising novel Distant Star is Alberto Ruiz Tagle an air force pilot who exploits the 1973 coup to launch his own version of the New Chilean Poetry a multimedia enterprise involving sky writing poetry torture and photo exhibitionsFor our unnamed narrator who first encounters this star in a college poetry workshop Ruiz Tagle bec. .
Roberto Bolaño í 5 Read.
His scenarios and characters with hindsight we can recognize many aspects not only of the reality of the time but also as experienced in other comparable totalitarian regimes This is a disconcerting and challenging read that will hang on in the reader s memory DISTANT STAR opens a short time prior to the coup a group of left leaning students and their poet teacher are debating literary traditions and it current heroes and reciting their own writing efforts Among the group are the unnamed narrator his friend Bibiano and Alberto Ruiz Tagle the charming somewhat enigmatic figure who we learn from the outset will become All Roads Lead Home known as Carlos WiederFrom the outset the reader is put on notice that the narrative may not be as straightforward and reliable as we might expect In the book s introduction Bola o explains that DISTANT STAR is the rewrite of the last chapter of his previous novel NAZI LITERATURE IN THE AMERICAS in particular the portrait of one of those writers featured in that novel If that sounds confusing it probably is but also very likely deliberately so Much is told in indirect voice creating the illusion of distance between the narrator and his subjectAlberto Ruiz Tagle aka Carlos Wieder is the focus of the story that soon evolves into aind of personal investigation by the narrator and his main source Bibiano Wieder German again seems a very fitting name for somebody who appears again and again whenever there is political upheaval After the coup his position as army pilot is revealed and what his new Chilean poetry consists of There high above the city it the plane began to write a poem in the sky But then suddenly the letters appeared as if the sky itself had secreted them Perfectly formed letters of grey black smoke on the sky s screen of rose tinged blue chilling the eyes of those who saw themBut that is just the beginning an innocent one of his actions Bola o expands his sharp critiue to include those in society who in order to remain on the side of political power can afford to overlook andor uietly condone the brutality as long as it is presented as of no or little conseuence to them and the society at large Carlos Wieder meanwhile moved on to other uests 355There are certain authors whom I eep coming back to because they do various themes to the point of what should be death but which never actually achieve that final destination of overworked banality This is hardly a static or even a linear relationship seeing as how my previous Bola o experience occurred in 2014 and the priorfirst engagement happened in the far off blue yonder of my pre Goodreads days encompassing a time spanning from when I still considered myself an engineer to the now accompanied by English tutoring job and upcoming GRE English subject test Paradigm shift to put it concisely The fact that Bola o has survived and eeps on surviving I m very much looking forward to a 2666 reread andor a The Third ReichThe Unknown University read whichever comes first reaffirms my decision to be utterly merciless with previous loves as pandering to the past produces nothing but superficial enthusiasms and an utter refutation of the potential for literature to become classic Neither term is as stable as some would like but that s where all the fun residesAmong other things this book is a perfect example of a work which has something ridiculously trope esue in this case myriad girlfriends in refrigerators but has enough other characteristics of uality to integrate said trope into a holism that s well worth engaging with I may not have been as forgiving had I not previously engaged with The Savage Detectives but that s where the beauty of the themes done to seeming death comes in less destination to be reached and facets of a crystal to analyze shining various lights at various angles in various surrounding landscapes and watching what not wholly original yet utterly
new fractal spawns from a static structure Events are sensationally brutal in Distant Star than TSD or evenfractal spawns from a static structure Events are sensationally brutal in Distant Star than TSD or even but there are enough strains of factual dictatorship the wrath of maturation international escapades of amateur spies and their spied upon monsters and a searing preoccupation with poetry and literature to make for a story that is utterly Bola o I may be saying this as a result of not having read much if any of the names mentioned in these pages and those numbered among Bola o s influences but it s good nowing that I have much to explore if I should ever run out of a certain Chilean author s bibliography posthumous and preI d be comfortable with recommending this as a beginner s introduction to Bola o seeing as how not everyone is like me and dives into 2666 cause the author s unfamiliar and the cover looks cool However I d only do so with people who already embrace the necessity of critically engaging with any sort of creative work as I have no interest in increasing fetishism of Nazis or government violence or hatred of women in those who think the shitty world they live in can t possibly feed and feed off of the concrete pieces of abstract communication spawned by the world s citizens both shitty and otherwise With that said if you read because you re actively interested in revolution and not cause you want to get your titillated rocks off welcome "To The Chillest Morbidity This "the chillest morbidity this of the Atlantic he had a firm and militant belief in the existence of evil absolute evil It s worth thinking about the Jewish people who fled the homelands of WWII the murderers who followed and whether our art is a Bruno Schulz or a Alberto Ruiz Tagle This novel is an extension of the last entry in Bola o s wonderful earlier work Nazi Literature in the Americas It s clear why Bola o made it into a novel it s one of the most memorable sections of the book A poet is forced into the Chilean air force and starts a new literary movement by writing poems in the sky above the Andes mountainsI feel that because I ve already read the story which inspired this I didn t really get anything new out of it However it is thoroughly enjoyable and probably one of Bola o s best narratives I must applaud it for sheer inventiveness and bits of it definitely precurse certain parts of 2666 I think this would be a good one for Bola o newbies It s fairly straightforward and is a great example of his uniue prose and admirable characters Literary KeyholesIn The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro painted an England as seen by the butler of a large house whose eyhole view of the world circumscribed by the minutiae of place setting and gong ringing is so narrow that the truly great events the approach to World War can be seen only in narrow glimpses Roberto Bola o also writes of horror but his particular eyhole is literature especially avant garde poetry and literary criticism Almost all the books of his that I have re. Omes the silent hand behind every evil act in the darkness of Pinochet's regime The narrator unable to stop himself tries to track Ruiz Tagle down and sees signs of his activity over and over again A corrosive mocking humor sparkles within Bolaño's darkest visions of Chile under Pinochet In Bolaño's world there's a big graveyard and there's a big graveyard la. ,