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L'ultima conversazione (The Last Interview)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  341 ratings  ·  45 reviews
L’autore di 2666 e I detective selvaggi si racconta in questa collezione di interviste realizzate in un arco di cinque anni, che si conclude con la famosa «Ultima conversazione», pubblicata per la prima volta pochi giorni dopo la scomparsa dello scrittore. L’infanzia in Cile, l’adolescenza in Messico, l’Europa da uomo maturo; la presa di coscienza civile e politica, i prim ...more
Hardcover, Sur #5, 124 pages
Published April 2012 by Sur (first published November 10th 2009)
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Mike Puma
May 04, 2011 Mike Puma rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bolaño heads

I decided to re-read this one in anticipation of Bolaño’s Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998-2003 due later this month. I thought: it’s short, quickly accomplished, and that it will allow me a ‘jump’ in the Reading Challenge, freeing up some time for something longer (more Marías?) or something meatier (the upcoming Bolaño).

I happily proceeded, getting a kick out of his occasional contrariness and admiring his familiarity with and advocacy for various other Central and Sou

Bolaño in conversation can sometimes crack you up, sometimes give you serious pause. He's very quotable. And what a bibliophile! He seemed to have read all the essential works from Latin America and beyond. He is generous in sharing his opinionated estimations of writers; he certainly knows his titans (Cervantes, Borges, Rulfo, Kafka, Twain, Melville, etc.).

This book of interviews is tailored for Bolaño aficionados. Considering that about 40% of its content is available online, this appears at f
Worth it as a wafer-thin dessert after the gluttony session of 2666. The "last interview" itself seemed to offer short witty Bolanoesque responses to questions from Padgett Powell's The Interrogative Mood: Do you like cats or dogs? What makes your jaw hurt laughing? The other interviews often read like excerpts from his other books about other books. The part I found most interesting was the part of the intro called "the part about the journalist" -- about the Mexico City journalist Bolano ficti ...more
Matthew Balliro
Editorial note that has nothing to do with the book's content: I've heard some rumblings about how lots of the interviews and essays in this book are available for free on the internet. It's true; I can't deny this. But, honestly, if you're a fan of Bolaño, you should still pick this up. It's been translated with editorial direction, not just by some guy on the internet using Google Translate; the footnotes are great, giving micro-bios about the many Spanish-language authors mentioned; and it's ...more
In reading this wonderfully entertaining gem I was reminded that when I first read Bolaño, about 2 years ago, I felt like I wanted to write poetry. I mean I really wanted to write. Actually, what happened is I first began sketching ideas for short stories, novels, and poems. Its been two years of interest and now I can't not write. But that said, I have difficulties. I am not the type that is trapped in my room 8 hours a day, pouring words out of myself onto paper. For me, it is a struggle. And ...more
Tyler Jones
A bit of an odd little book that one suspects was cobbled together to cash in on the posthumous popularity of Bolaño, it nevertheless provides a great many insights into the man behind the colossal novels The Savage Detectives and 2666.

The longest piece in the book is the introduction, which provides some background on Bolaño, but is in fact largely an examination of how he researched a section of 2666 (The Part about the Crimes) by closely following the investigations of the real life killing o
the last interview & other conversations is obviously a must read for anyone seeking greater understanding of the enigmatic chilean author. comprised of four interviews, this slim collection begins with an insightful and very well written introductory essay entitled "alone among the ghosts," by marcela valdes, that further elucidates how and why bolaño came to write 2666. while two of these interviews (bomb & playboy mexico) were easily available before this book, to have four distinct p ...more
Jim Coughenour
Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview actually consists of a short introduction and four intelligently-annotated interviews, trim with Bolaño's sharp insight and unsentimental charm. Unfortunately, the last interview (for Playboy) is the worst. The interviewer, who is far from stupid, can't hold back from asking questions like "Is the world without remedy?" or (for the final question, which would have killed Bolaño even if he hadn't been dying) "Do you confess to having lived?" Maybe that sounds le ...more
excellent bunch of interviews in which bolano is only really serious when referencing other literary figures or works that he found important. also really, really, really, cool to find out that he was a big fan of the pogues.

"reading is always more important than writing."
Already read most of these before. Favorite new Bolaño quote: "Being a writer is pleasant--no, pleasant isn't the word--it's an activity that has its share of amusing moments, but I know of other things that are even more amusing, amusing in the same way that literature is for me. Holding up banks, for example. Or directing movies. Or being a gigolo. Or being a child again and playing on a more or less apocalyptic soccer team. Unfortunately, the child grows up, the bank robber is killed, the dir ...more
Tanuj Solanki
Necessary for the completist. You can't miss the essence of your favortire writer.

Sample this:

"Positions are positions, sex is sex."

Indian girls might be excited about the fact that the most beautiful woman Bolano glimpsed in his life was an Indian woman in Spain.
It's strange to think that in 1985-1986 I spent a holiday with friends in Blanes, Costa Brava, where Roberto Bolano was living. Maybe I met him on the street or in a bar while having a coffee. Who knows.
I like very much the novels and stories of Bolano because they are human and intense at the same time. All his characters, and he of course, are full of modesty and it is reassuring to think that Roberto had a face that corresponded to the full modesty so present in his books.
He had a nice (ver
What struck me as most valuable here were Bolano's comments on other writers. I find that reading books by writers my favourite writers love is the most rewarding approach to the massive literary world that confronts me every time I walk into any kind of bookstore. It's easy to get disappointed by books on 'classics' lists (lasting literary fame is based on so many suspect factors, I think, that it's rarely a good guide to literary exploration), but it's rare that a favourite author's literary t ...more
Ben Dutton
As regular readers of this blog will know, I have a great admiration for the Chilean poet and novelist Roberto Bolaño. Bolaño died in 2003, leaving behind him a series of novels (some already published, others forthcoming through the next few years), at least one of which will last: 2666 (2004). This collection of interviews Bolaño held with Capital, Bomb, Turia and Playboy (the Mexican edition), introduced by fellow Bolaño-ite Marcela Valdes has clearly been assembled to benefit from the recent ...more
Angelo Ricci
Ci sono storie che possono nascere solo nel continente latinoamericano. America Latina, luogo che porta in sé, come un peccato originale che intride le vite, le anime e i luoghi, l’orrore del genocidio perpetrato dai conquistadores, che lo hanno con violenza estrema svezzato a una barbarica alba di presunta civilizzazione.
Se l’America gringa, gli States, usurpa il ruolo di parte per il tutto, con la confluenza del suo immaginario paranoico e disneyano nell’intero immaginario occidentale, l’Ameri
I agree with the sentiments expressed by many people here - this book would never have been published except to cash in on Bolano's posthumous popularity. Nevertheless, it brings out a candid Bolano, and some of the interviews are more conversations between writers, and hence enjoyable. The least inspiring conversation in the book is the Last Interview where Mónica Maristain asks Bolano some superficial questions which he answers in one liners, and she never delves into details - not that I am p ...more
Massimiliano Laviola
Chi può citare nella stessa intervista Borges e Vittorio Gassman? Quale grande scrittore rilascia la sua ultima intervista a Playboy? Solo un genio come Roberto Bolaño poteva farlo. Giustamente nel saggio finale di questo libro Nicola Lagioia lo definisce "un riapritore di giochi, che rappresenti cioè, malgrado vi abbia sostato soltanto per tre anni, il primo vero grande scrittore del ventunesimo secolo". Non mi azzardo in commenti o giudizi sui libri di Bolaño, troppo complessi e allo stesso te ...more
Patricia Murphy
I curate a collection of interviews for my magazine. The main difficulty is trying to anticipate how an author will respond to different questions. All of our questions are text-centric. We study all of an author's work: interviews, articles, books. We include only a very few questions about craft, process, or personal history.

No matter how carefully we compose the interviews, we've found that some authors come across as generous and delightful and warm, while others come across as surly and ar
John Waller
BAD BAD Traslation!!!

There's ONLY ONE interview worth reading:the last.

And then you found Bolaño masturbated with his feet! Left foot.


Please avoid this edtion. There is another much better traslation of this interview.

It's included in Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003

There are a few people who blow me away in their accomplishments, their intellect, their integrity, their lives. Jane Jacobs is probably one of my all time personal heroes; my former mentor, Dave Hickey, constantly awes me in his personal trajectory, integrity, and intellectual omnivorousness; and now, Roberto Bolaño in his intellect, knowledge and skill.

And this book shows off Bolaño's intellect, knowledge and skill. It seems like the man has read everything, and he is insightful and brilliant.
Jigar Brahmbhatt
These interviews are a bit insightful and make for a very fast and speedy read. The real delight is Bolano himself, whose knowledge on literature was no less, I believe, than that of Borges. And his spot-on wittiness is quite amusing. When asked whether he had ever shed tear on widespread criticism from enemies, this is what he had to say:

"Lots and lots. Everytime I read that someone had spoken badly for me I began to cry, I drag myself across the floor, I scratch myself, I stop writing indefini
Jesse K
The annotation, selection, editing, and translation were great. However, I've docked this a star for the fact that I had already read half of it in English, and already read another quarter in Babelfishlish. That made for about 40 pages of stuff that was completely new to me. However, the overall quality of the stuff and the fact that the annotation would be a godsend for someone wanting to explore great Latin American literature (but didn't want to devote as much time to searching as I have bee ...more
Here's how you treat the interview as art form, as poetry, as standup, and as incisive literary and cultural criticism. So rich and funny and smart.
Reading is more important than writing. Peek into the latin american author who lived by this credo. Extremely interesting.
Interessanti intervista allo scrittore Roberto Bolano, per chi vuole approfondire la sua importante figura.
More refreshing than I anticipated, the honesty and openness of the author is striking
I started reading this spare little volume in tandem with 2666, and I highly recommend doing so - its four interviews (not just the one like the title suggests) provided insights into Bolano's brain that helped me begin to grasp some of the complexities of that epic novel. (Interestingly, Bolano's actual voice is very similar to some of his own narrators, both in The Savage Detectives and 2666.) Marcela Valdes provides a very nicely written and illuminating introduction.
pierlapo  quimby
- Intervistatrice: Quali sensazioni suscita in lei la parola postumo?
- R.B.: Sembra il nome di un gladiatore romano. Un gladiatore invitto. O almeno questo è quanto vuol credere il povero Postumo per farsi coraggio.

Non so voi, ma dopo aver letto queste tre righe, consapevole di come è andata a finire, ho dovuto chiudere il libro, prendere una boccata d'aria e giuro che m'è persino toccato di ricacciare dentro quel che sembrava un fiotto di lacrime.
As much as he played people with his non-fiction, in interviews Bolaño was something as a gentleman, at least in comparison. Always surprising, that Monsieur Bolaño
Dec 05, 2009 Yuval rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who have read 2666
A good, short follow-up to finishing 2666; the introduction, which comments at length on aspects of 2666, was very illuminating, and the interviews with Bolaño, while pretty general, are enjoyable. Best part of the collection are the footnotes on the Latin American authors referenced in the interviews, most of which I had not heard of but sound really fascinating. Lots to add to my "To Read" list!
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For most of his early adulthood, Bolaño was a vagabond, living at one time or another in Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, France and Spain.

Bolaño moved to Europe in 1977, and finally made his way to Spain, where he married and settled on the Mediterranean coast near Barcelona, working as a dishwasher, a campground custodian, bellhop and garbage collector — working during the day and writing at night.

More about Roberto Bolaño...

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The Last Interview (10 books)
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The Savage Detectives 2666 By Night in Chile Distant Star Last Evenings on Earth

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“Reading is more important than writing.” 28 likes
“The world is alive and no living thing has any remedy. That is our fortune.” 14 likes
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