The New Yorker Reader: Winter Fiction Issue, Part 3

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12/23/2008 10:00 AM |

“Meeting with Enrique Lihn,” by Roberto Bolaño.

One always needs to ask these things in a Bolaño story, so: Enrique Lihn was very much a real Chilean poet, as was Rodrigo Lira; the other names (last names only) I’m not sure about and Google’s not helping. Now then.

I get the feeling that we’re getting to the posthumous scrapings of Bolaño now — what we have hear is a dreamlike, perhaps automatic writing-derived narrative of dread, about literature as a lonely, inconsequential, ignored (even by people involved in it) pursuit, in a shifting landscape of impending death.

I read this story, and am now writing this, in the midst of a lot of year-in-film stuff; I’m mostly just sorta thinking of this story as a less sentimental, depersonalized version of Synecdoche, New York. Which I kinda want to see again, if I can bear it.