OK, Bolaño.

He’s GOT me, dang it. I imagined that it was just a matter of time and the.critics.were.right. Bolaño’s piece-de-resistance has sucked me in, and now I’m going to have to finish it. 

At first, I pulled at the reins. He has this annoying habit of assuming that the average reader is not going to be left breathless by 2000-word-long sentences that cover five and six pages. You may read three pages before you suddenly stop, breathing hard, wondering why you haven’t seen a period in several minutes. I also wonder how much of the information is going to be essential to the final outcome of the book, and that perception makes me irritated that he’s wasting my time.

But O my friends. Last night I read a paragraph that changed it all. As I read it, it sealed my fate, making it inevitable that I should toil through the rest of the book, seeking the sweet repetition of that magic. It’s introducing one of the characters, a British woman who comes upon an author central to the story, and it details that moment that I think we’ve all had at some point- that moment of musicality when the world changes forever, irrevocably:

It was raining in the quadrangle, and the quadrangular sky looked like a grimace of a robot or a god made in our own likeness. The oblique drops of rain slid down the blades of grass in the park, but it would have made no difference if they had slid up. Then the oblique (drops) turned round (drops), swallowed up by the earth underpinning the grass, and the grass and the earth seemed to talk, no, not talk, argue, their comprehensible words like crystallized spiderwebs or the briefest crystallized vomitings, a barely audible rustling, as if instead of drinking tea that afternoon, Norton had drunk a steaming cup of peyote.

Yes, my friends, he had me at crystallized vomitings. Of how many authors can you say that? Now I’ll have to finish all 900-plus pages. Arrghh.

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8 Responses to OK, Bolaño.

  1. Ink says:

    Ooh, I like this: “The oblique drops of rain slid down the blades of grass in the park, but it would have no difference if they had slid up.”

  2. amy2boys says:

    I’m fascinated. You must let me know how you like it, and how difficult the subject matter is to read about.

  3. Jane says:

    I love being introduced to “new-to-me” writers. I’ve never read anything by Bolano. I’ll be interested to hear your impressions when you finish this novel!

  4. faemom says:

    I’m fascinated with you reading this book because you make it sound so interesting, but I doubt I could stick to it as long as you can.

  5. I’ve been waiting until the Infinite Summer group tackles 2666 next year, but I may start early thanks to this post. I’m with Ink on the most captivating phrase…that the drops might as well have slid up. Tantalizing.

  6. incognitomom says:

    Oh, someday I might have to read this. But it might have to wait until my son is a lot older because sentences like that require more attention than my current state in life allows me. Let us know if the whole book is as intriguing as that sentence.

  7. Running into a corner, shrieking in horror…someone has hi-jacked my brain! I am unable to focus on anything more difficult than People magazine. And there are people out there who can read stuff like that?

  8. Have been away for a while, but love the sound of this sentence…can’t wait till you post more… have to catch up on what’s been going on….hope all is well…

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