Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Epler (and me) on Bolaño: Read Amulet

Here's a link to a great interview with Barbara Epler from New Directions, my favorite press (next to Dalkey and Open Letter and Vintage) on the subject of Roberto Bolaño. Bolaño has been on my mind less these days, only because his last few books did not wow me (I'm thinking of Monsieur Pain, The Return, and Antwerp), not that they are bad books, but, alas, they are not Distant Star or 2666. Unfair indeed, but after so many great books in a row, it's hard to expect anything less than a masterpiece from Bolaño. This interview did reignite some interest.

A great part of this interview comes when Epler gives a shout out to Amulet, an overlooked gem in Bolaño's collection. In a lot of ways, it's my favorite of his books, maybe because it is the first one I read. I usually recommend Distant Star or The Savage Detectives to Bolaño neophytes, but I really ought to pimp Amulet a bit more. It is shorter than 2666, equally as compelling as By Night in Chile, and full of a strange kind of tenderness and mystery. It is the book I reread when in Mexico City. And then I reread it in Spanish (as best I could). Check it out.