Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview


Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview and Other Conversations
Mónica Maristain, translated by Sybil Perez
2010, Melville House Publishing
123 pages

IT IS A CURIO, but one that is intriguing and provides a fascinating insight into the passions and prejudices of an author who is, posthumously, being transformed into something of a literary saint. Whether you subscribe to what the Economist called “Bolañomania” or not, this interview with the Chilean novelist in 2003 by Maristain, then the Argentine editor-in-chief of the Mexican edition of Playboy, alongside four other interviews with the author at other stages in his career, provides an important piece of the puzzle for those trying to piece together a portrait of this complex writer’s mind. Rightly or wrongly, Bolaño’s 2666 is now being hailed as a masterpiece and he is being spoken of a one of the greatest talents to emerge from Latin America since García Márquez. One reason for that may have been his travels across the region, which inform a curriculum vitae that fits neatly with the best traditions of the roving, pan-American intellectual. Indeed, in the interview Bolaño admits to having no motherland other than his children, in the vein of a Che or a Bolívar. Maristain teases out of the author nuggets that are both personal and profound, and the journalist provides valuable annotations to help those less familiar with some of the references made to Bolaño’s influences. If fashion has dictated that we pay homage to all things Bolañesque, then Maristain’s fascinating exchanges with the author provides us with a good set of explanations as to why. – GO’T

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