Jesse's Reviews > Last Evenings on Earth

Last Evenings on Earth by Roberto Bolaño
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's review
Dec 26, 2008

it was amazing
Read in December, 2008

bolano is just flat out one of the best writers of the last fifty years. these stories compare to the nick adams stories except with strange hallucinogenic thoughts that course through the protagonist's brain. the stories follow b, who is most definitely arturo belano, bolano's alter ego who also shows up in "the savage detectives". the stories find him in spain, france, belgium, and mexico, landing in odd places for odd reasons, always with a desire to read and an inability to sleep. the stories are told in a clear and precise style, with b constantly revaluating his thoughts and trying to find the most perspicacious - if not metaphorically mixed - opinions, explanations, and terrors. b drifts in and out of people's lives experiencing baffling connections, and desultory omens. the abyss is ever-approaching as b attempts to stave it off through books, random sex, and alcohol. b also recounts several other character's stories: a photographer in india who stumbles upon a gruesome cult; an unstable woman who bounces from man to man, country to country; a paranoid schizophrenic who commits suicide. b also reounts some stories from his early twenties when he was becoming the vagabond poet which he sustained until the last years of his life. with these stories, bolano shows how simple stories told in simplistic language can synergize and become extraordinary and through their life-defeating plots they can paradoxically become life-affirming.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Juan dope review, man.i agree bolano is one the best writers of the last fifty years.

Jesse hey thanks man. yeah i haven't fallen this hard for a writer in about 5 years. last time it was david foster wallace, after reading "infinite jest" - which if you haven't read, don't be put off by the hipster hype, it's the real deal - and then he went and killed himself. at least bolano's already dead so i don't have to get my heart broken.

Henry Flower Hey Jesse, just read your review. The two "contemporary" writers I'm obsessing over right now are Bolaño and Wallace. 2666 and Infinite Jest have changed me.

Jesse yeah they are both phenomenal writers. i'm getting amped up for 'the pale king' which should be coming out next month. i haven't been able to keep up with the plethora of bolano material that has been released in the last year or so, however i plan on going on a bolano-binge soon. i miss him and wanna spend some time with his twisted, moving mind.

Mike Puma Jesse wrote: "yeah they are both phenomenal writers. i'm getting amped up for 'the pale king' which should be coming out next month. i haven't been able to keep up with the plethora of bolano material that has b..."

I'm finally current with Bolaño. If you're interested in a suggestion, getting to the best of his shorter works first, you might want to go for By Night in Chile when you start your binge. It will serve as a reminder when pondering some of the others, e.g. Antwerp. Really looking forward to Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998-2003 due the end of May.

Jesse thx for the suggestion. i have heard from others that by night in chile is prob his best novella...also i've been dying to read in parentheses since the whole snafu of his drug use thought to be so extreme while his lady friend maintains he was never into heavy drugs and that the writing about heroin and methadone was just a story. i guess he wrote for a paper and just did a column and never specified whether they were stories or non-fiction. anyway it's been out in spanish for awhile but my spanish is not quite good enough to read it that way, so i've been waiting a good year or two for that to come out. needless to say i'm happy it's finally coming.

Mike Puma I hadn't heard about his drug use or rumors of it. Since he was born the year after I was, I kinda like the idea of him having a sordid past--here, the 60s occured early in the 70s, just in time for me.

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