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Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  768 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
Between Parentheses collects most of the newspaper columns and articles Bolano wrote during the last five years of his life, as well as the texts of some of his speeches and talks and a few scattered prologues. “Taken together,” as the editor Ignacio Echevarría remarks in his introduction, they provide “a personal cartography of the writer: the closest thing, among all his ...more
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published May 30th 2011 by New Directions (first published June 2004)
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When I think about Roberto Bolaño, my imagination runs wild in directions both vague and inviting with the sole purpose of putting together an abstract view of life led by this writer who left behind a substantial oeuvre for the lovers of written word and it’s hardly surprising that people around the world are still in the process of discovering, translating and publishing his books. Because of the distance he maintained from the archetypal patterns of acceptable storylines, his writing becomes ...more
Nov 27, 2014 Jonfaith rated it really liked it
No one asks Balzac to be Stendhal. All anyone asks of Balzac is that he be God.

Two of my favorite books over the last few months have been The Novel: An Alternative History: Beginnings to 1600 and Written Lives This collection is in a similar vein. These are prefaces, reviews, speeches and other observations herded together posthumously, though Bolano imagined this possibility, especially as he began a weekly newspaper column which is also gathered here.

I took some fellow GRers advice and read
Mike Puma
Oct 13, 2011 Mike Puma rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: they know who they are
4.5 well-deserved stars!

I started this book back in June before setting it aside, disappointed, and wondering: WTF is going on here? I found it confused and confusing. Did he think exile was real or didn’t he? (He does, or he doesn’t, depending on how he defines exile—writers, on the other hand, seem to be immune to exile as writers can write anywhere they happen to be.)

The speeches which begin this volume were frantic, taking off on tangents, leaving me to wonder what the attendees must have th

Dec 03, 2014 Lee rated it really liked it
Remove the dust jacket of the The Portable Beat Reader and you'll see the same solid semi-glossy black boards -- both this one by Bolano and that one by the Beats are top-notch reading-list reads. A laugh riot at times. Always bold. Every author is the best of a country or generation. Abyss and adventure! As a slant portrait of Bolano, it's a portrait of the author as a compendium of books, like the painting by Arcimboldo, who most likely inspired Archimboldi, the master writer in 2666.

Highly re
Jun 09, 2016 Jsludika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Primer libro de Bolaño que leo. Mezcla insuperable de inteligencia, ternura y humor que solo puedo fundir en una palabra: Genialidad.
Feb 28, 2011 jeremy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: translation, essays
that nearly all of bolaño's non-fictional and autobiographical writings fit into a single volume is bittersweet. lucky we are that these works were collected and published (let alone translated by the fabulous natasha wimmer), so that neophyte and devotee alike may espy a glimpse of the author beyond his often apocryphal mystique. unfortunate it remains, however, that these pages make up the sum of what otherwise could have been a much more voluminous collection (had a liver transplant come read ...more
Ben Winch
Aug 29, 2012 Ben Winch rated it really liked it
For fans of 2666 or The Savage Detectives still searching for clues to unlock the mystery, skip the shorter novels (go back to them later, there's plenty of time) and try this. Defiantly not the cash-in it could have been, Between Parentheses is in some ways more personal than anything in Bolano's fiction, and proves the late Chilean master to be as big-hearted as he is sardonic, as in love with literature as he is critical of it. Funny, candid, illuminating... I missed him when I finished this. ...more
M. Sarki
Aug 04, 2013 M. Sarki rated it it was amazing
Recommended to M. by: new yorker magazine, sort of

From an article I found interesting in one of 2011's summer issues of The New Yorker I almost accidentally discovered the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño. I took a stab at reading his writing by purchasing the New Directions title Between Parenthesis which was highly touted as a great work which included articles, speeches, and essays Bolaño had given the world from 1998 to 2003, the year in which he died. One of many striking and thus remarkable discoveries
Siempre se cuela en todo lo que escribe Bolaño su amor por la literatura. Sus libros muestran un entusiasmo insaciable. Por eso este libro es tan especial, y tan importante para cualquier fan suyo, o de la Literatura en general. Se ve todo lo que piensa sobre otros escritores, se ve su visión sobre la literatura latinoamericana, y sobre la literatura en general. Se te pega el entusiasmo inevitablemente, ahora tengo una gran necesidad de leer a muchos de los escritores de los que habla, como Vila ...more
May 31, 2016 Francisco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lectores de Bolaño, personas que busquen recomendaciones literarias.
"Estoy impartiendo un curso de nueva literatura chilena. El que da el curso soy yo y el único que asiste al curso soy yo." Es lo mismo que sentí leyendo todo el libro (pero de literatura latinoamericana), que recopila ensayos, columnas de crítica literaria, discursos y una entrevista de un autor al que siempre vuelvo, no sé por qué.

Comencé a leer a Bolaño porque era un autor conocido cuando sabía incluso menos que ahora de literatura pero fue una decisión acertada. Si has leído las novelas de B
Jeff Jackson
Dec 31, 2011 Jeff Jackson rated it really liked it
This chatty collection of short essays probably deserves an extra star for Bolano's invaluable fiction and poetry recommendations, which serve as a virtual roadmap of interesting Latin American and Spanish literature over the past 30 years. Other highlights: His keen essay on the weirdness of "Huck Finn," his Chilean travelogues, and his insights into Borges - "Arlt, Gombrowicz: he might have been friends with them and wasn't. This lack of dialogue left a great void that is also part of our lite ...more
Apr 15, 2016 SurferRosa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: latinoamericana
Sono più o meno a metà lettura di questa raccolta di articoli, saggi, discorsi e interventi vari di Roberto Bolano nello stesso momento in cui mi trovo a metà di una raccolta di articoli e corsivi di Giorgio Manganelli ("Lunario dell'orfano sannita", sempre Adelphi).
Seppur entrambi estremamente ironici, i due autori non non potrebbero essere più diversi, atmosfera e affabulazione e fisicità e visioni in impennata per il cileno, mentre Manganelli, più oculato e ragionatore, ha un approccio analit
Jul 13, 2013 Harold rated it it was amazing
Shelves: in-rotation
Bolano was gifted. Pure and simple. In this collection of newspaper columns from the last five years of his life he writes of many things, sometimes people, writers, poets and things that I am totally unfamiliar with. He can write about anything and make it interesting. That is his gift.
Fábio Fernandes
Apr 20, 2014 Fábio Fernandes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
Roberto Bolaño left us too soon. He was one of the best contemporary Latin American writers. Hell, scratch that: he was one of the best contemporary writers, period. Read The Savage Detectives or his magnum opus, 2666, and you'll see what I'm talking about. Bolaño started writing poetry, and that love and care for the written word is something you can see (even in translation). But his stories can be straightforward and cruel; his poetry, witty to the point of savagery. The essays, articles and ...more
Sep 25, 2014 Aida rated it it was amazing
"(Larrain) photographs the legs, the shoes, of a woman and a man. They've stopped, they're waiting, but the observer knows they'll keep walking, move apart, come together, move apart again in a series of irretrievable instants that eventually we'll call life, chance, nothingness.
Jan 03, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it
I realized when I started reading this, why I love his writing. Maybe you have to be a certain age and to have come from a certain life to appreciate it but this is what he says:
"... everything I've written is a love letter or a farewell letter to my generation, those of us who were born in the 1950s... ". --That would include me.

What he goes on to say is that they were fighting for certain causes and here he's really talking about the political turmoil of South America in the second half of the
Jul 01, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing

Reading Bolaño, the English-speaker has to be overwhelmed by the vast ocean of Latin American literature that is virtually invisible in the United States. But, as Bolaño points out, that's hardly a problem unique to North Amerrica: "which brings us to a problem even worse than being forgotten: the provincialism of the book market, which corrals and locks away Spanish-language literature, which, simply put, means that Chilean authors are only of interest in Chile, Mexican authors in Mexico, and
In the newly translated collection of short non-fiction by Bolano, there is a piece on Argentinian literature, "The Vagaries of the Literature of Doom". In it he writes:
'regrettably, Argentine literature today has three reference points. Two are public. The third is secret. All three are in some sense reactions against Borges. All three ultimately represent a step backward and are conservative, not revolutionary, although all three, or at least two of them, have set themselves up as leftist al
Apr 06, 2013 Xavier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritos, ensayo
Me gustan los libros que se asemejan a viejos amigos, libros que los puedes abrir por cualquier parte y tener una conversación interesantísima con ellos. Entre Paréntesis es uno de esos pocos y afortunados libros. Bolaño hablando de la literatura, del valor y del abismo. De los paisajes de Blanes, de los escritores que aprecia, de los libros que le han conmovido. Pero también encontramos un Bolaño al cual no le tiembla la mano para defender lo que piensa del oficio de escribir y acribillar de pa ...more
Joseph Raffetto
Dec 29, 2015 Joseph Raffetto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
Fabulous vignettes and essays on literature, writers, politics, Chile, Bolano's life and worldview. It's a constant stream of humor, opinions, and culture communicated through brilliant writing and a powerful voice.
May 12, 2016 Pollo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alucinante. Hasta sus escritos sueltos hacen una obra apasionante. Uno de sus mejores cuentos está ahí. Recomienda libros que dan ganas de salir corriendo a buscarlos, se burla de todo el mundo y comenta a varios escritores, de Vargas Llosa a Bayly.
Jul 19, 2011 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
Late birthday gift from Margaret. I'm so excited I could just twitch.
Andrés González
Jan 16, 2014 Andrés González rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Bolaño es el puto jefe.
Josue Salvador
Dec 31, 2016 Josue Salvador rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leer a Bolaño es para mí una garantía de descubrimiento y asombro. Lo he dicho muchas veces y lo repito, es un guía y un maestro experto de lecturas. Cada mención que hace de un autor o una obra, tomada como una recomendación velada de lectura, ha sido todas las veces un éxito, sin falla.
En esta obra se recogen diversos textos del autor: conferencias, reseñas literarias, apuntes de lecturas, entrevistas. Son quizás los textos más personales que conocemos hasta el momento de este autor genial, e
J Murnaghan
Jan 12, 2017 J Murnaghan rated it really liked it
Read this ravenously... Then delighted in Archilochus, Lichtenberg, Parra & Wilcock. I had spent the previous couple of years catching up on work by major artists, serious work that I had neglected as too obvious, revered. Bolaño reminded me of my love of strangeness, the obscure.
Dec 21, 2016 Don rated it it was amazing
This is the perfect book. If it were 10,000 pages long (or endless), I would be happy to keep reading.
Aug 10, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me he dado cuenta, con la edad, de que la literatura me hace feliz. O tal vez lo supe desde niño, pero ya lo había olvidado. Vuelvo a la edad. Leer a Bolaño me alegra. Aunque a veces lo que escribe Bolaño sea triste, feroz. Lo que pasa, en realidad, es que leer a Bolaño me alegra hasta cuando me entristece. Pienso que este libro fue solo una manera burda, patética, materialista, de exprimir a Bolaño, ya muerto (se trata de una compilación de artículos publicada después de su muerte). Pero sí que ...more
Angelo Ricci
Domande si affacciano spesso alla memoria di chi legge. Memoria del lettore che conserva e rifiuta, analizza e ritiene, soffre e si entusiasma. Memoria che è software di un’unità carbonio senziente, database organico, luogo razionale che contiene tutta l’irrazionalità ragionevole delle parole lette, condivise, amate, odiate, a volte addirittura rifiutate. Scansione randomizzata di narrazioni, di storie, di trasfigurazioni spaziotemporali. Perché leggiamo Roberto Bolaňo? Perché desideriamo perder ...more
Aug 11, 2015 Amélie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, chili, 2015
La littérature est une machine cuirassée. Elle ne s'inquiète pas des écrivains. Parfois, elle ne se rend même pas compte que ceux-ci sont vivants. («Dérives de la pesada», p. 36)

C'est une drôle d'envie que celle de vouloir aller à la rencontre d'un écrivain au-delà de sa fiction, au-delà des histoires soigneusement construites & éditées, pour aller gratter les fonds de tiroirs de sa production littéraire. J'imagine que Bolaño -- ses livres étranges & parfaits, sa vie -- appelle ce genre
Ben Dutton
Oct 07, 2012 Ben Dutton rated it it was amazing
Between Parentheses is a collection of Roberto Bolaño’s essays, articles and speeches from 1998-2003. They are gathered from a number of disparate sources – regular newspaper columns, from speeches for the opening of the holiday celebrations in his adopted hometown of Blanes. The compiler of this book, Ignacio Echeverría, has access to Bolaño’s computer, and so the original source documents for these pieces, and as he admits in his introduction it is difficult to know exactly how many of these p ...more
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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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“Probably all of us, writers and readers alike, set out into exile, or at least into a certain kind of exile, when we leave childhood behind...The immigrant, the nomad, the traveler, the sleepwalker all exist, but not the exile, since every writer becomes an exile simply by venturing into literature, and every reader becomes an exile simply by opening a book.” 18 likes
“I am told that César Aira writes two books a year, at least, some of which are published by a little Argentinean company named Beatriz Viterbo, after the character in Borges's story "The Aleph." The books of his that I have been able to find were published by Mondadori and and Tusquets Argentina. It's frustrating, because once you've started reading Aira, you don't want to stop. His novels seem to put the theories of Gombrowicz into practice, except, and the difference is fundamental, that Gombrowicz was the abbot of a luxurious imaginary monastery, while Aira is a nun or novice among the Discalced Carmelites of the Word. Sometimes he is reminiscent of Roussel (Roussel on his knees in a bath red with blood), but the only living writer to whom he can be compared is Barcelona's Enrique Vila-Matas.

Aira is an eccentric, but he is also one of the three or four best writers working in Spanish today.”
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