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Last Evenings on Earth by Roberto Bolaño

Last Evenings on Earth (edition 2006)

by Roberto Bolaño

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6141323,966 (3.92)23
Title:Last Evenings on Earth
Authors:Roberto Bolaño
Info:New Directions (2006), Edition: 1St Edition, Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library, Books
Tags:Books, Roberto Bolaño, Literature, Chilean Writer, Latin American Writer, Latin American Narrative

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Last Evenings On Earth by Roberto Bolaño

  1. 00
    The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov by Vladimir Nabokov (lobotomy42)
  2. 00
    By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolaño (parrishlantern)
    parrishlantern: Whilst reading this, a certain song refrain kept intruding into my thoughts, after a while I paid closer attention to it, and realised that it not only fitted this books subject matter, it sounded like some thing from a Bolano novel. Repent, Repent I wonder what they meant. “All your lousy little poets coming round, trying to sound like Charley Manson, see the white girl dancin” L.Cohen.… (more)
  3. 00
    Distant Star by Roberto Bolaño (inaudible)

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» See also 23 mentions

English (12)  Spanish (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
There is something special about a Bolano short story, at least in this collection and The Insufferable Gaucho. I believe Bolano had the Hemingway iceberg theory down in these stories. Highly recommend. Good stuff. ( )
  MSarki | Mar 29, 2013 |
These mostly autobiographical short stories give a very insightful perspective on Bolano. An exiled Chilean he wanders through Mexico and Europe unmoored. He seemingly floats through these stories like a haunted man. It is very illuminating for Bolano fans and many of the stories deal with exile, alienation, failed dreams, violence, and a fear of what happens next.

The Eye and Gomez Pallacio were my favorites.

Sensi story highlights the need for a master as well as a master's need for a novice.

Leprince and the need for bad writers

In his heart, Leprince finally accepted his lot as a bad writer, but he has also come to understand and accept that good writers need bad writers if only to serve as readers and stewards. He also knows that by saving or helping several good writers he has earned the right to sully clean sheets of paper and make mistakes. P 25

Enrique martin and our lost hope and dreams

"...just like me and my correspondents, coming to the end of our youth, coming to accept the end of our dreams." p 33

A literary adventure and phone calls seem to be part of something unfinished. Those are unsatisfying

The grub sounds like the beginning of The Savage Detectives. college kid not going to class spends time reading and meets carborca and the knife.

Anne Moores life seems autobiographical, and like the literary adventure and phone calls, unsatisfying.

The Eye is beautiful story about the horrors of violence of the worst kind, and the crying foe those lost to it.

Gomez pallacio is about the desert. It reminded me of the scene in 2666 where the detectives are riding in the desert as if they were on a sea with the cities as idlandsl as if the desert would swallow them up. I love the desolation in the story and the loneliness. The reflection of yourself at the time of a lonely ddperate period and to look yourself in the mirror, that scared kid you were. ( )
  shadowofthewind | Aug 28, 2012 |
Exile on dead-end street

"A minor poet disappears without leaving a trace, hopelessly stranded in some town on the Mediterranean coast of France. There is no investigation. There is no corpse. By the time B turns to Daumal, night has fallen on the beach; he shuts the book & slowly makes his way back to the hotel."

The last evenings on earth, shouldn't make sense, it's a book about failure, not the usual fireworks & all guns blazing failure I've come to expect from Bolano's work (The savage detectives, 2666). No this is wretched, abject - from the Latin "abjectus" meaning, cast away, this is the flotsam & jetsam of Latin- America, exiled from their own past. Individuals washed up on the shores of Europe, some having escaped torture & violence under General Pinochet's regime, yet having not really escaped, still wearing the chains, still bearing the scars, still living haunted lives of utter anonymity. Bolano also writes about the writers, poets and artists that history forgot, the ones who regardless of talent, pursued a life of dedication to their muse, the ones who sacrificed themselves upon its altar & left not a blood stain.

"Have you found Henri Lefebvre? asks M. She must be still half asleep, thinks B. Then he says no. She has a pretty laugh. Why are you so interested in him? she asks, still laughing. Because nobody else is, says B. And because he was good."
These characters work as dishwashers, send poems to obscure magazines, enter competitions for a pittance of a prize, for the one chance that a light may illuminate their genius, that some voice will sing out & proclaim their worth. Lives are spent travelling from A to B, but B's never different, it's the same cheap hotel, the same bar filled with the same shades, just a different costume on the same whore .

These stories fall into two categories, they are either 1st person recollections, where the narrator recounts an episode from his past - a chance encounter, meeting old friends or enemies - or 3rd person accounts of a writer named B, (Belano/Bolano). Exiled from his homeland & subsisting on the margins of his adopted country, of time spent travelling in search of something long lost & settling for some short lived comfort, some transient shelter. Yet at the heart of these tales, this is just one story, that is not a criticism of the book. This is the story of artists, writers & poets exiled from all that could be called home. Individuals caught in their own private quests, hunted by nightmares, always on the edge. These are chased shadows no longer relevant.

Despite all this, the book is addictive. By the time you've started the third story, you will belong to these characters, it will matter what happens to them. The French poet who shone in the resistance only to fadeout as a teacher in some remote village, the exiled writer who goes home to recover his sons body then languishes & dies, or just following Ann Moore's life from the age of 20 - 40. It will matter, fold the corner on the page, put the book down, leave the room & it will be there, just behind your eyes, in between your thought processes, it will be the beat that paces your journeys, it's shadow will dog your footsteps & your sleeping self, will continue to turn the pages.

"There's nothing for me to do here, says B. This sentence will pursue him throughout the return journey like the headlights of a phantom car"

Although last evenings on earth is compiled from 2 previous collections (Llamadas Telefonicas & Putas Asesinas) of Bolano's, it doesn't feel bolted together, if there are joins, if in places it doesn't quite match, I couldn't find them. Yes it's fragmented, but the fault lines are those of the characters, the fractures are the human lives that he writes about.

"The secret story is the one we'll never know, although we're living it from day to day, thinking we're alive, thinking we've got it all under control and the stuff we overlook doesn't matter. But every single damn thing matters! Only we don't realize. We just tell ourselves that art runs on one track and life, our lives, on another, and we don't realize that's a lie." ( )
1 vote parrishlantern | Jul 10, 2012 |
There is an unmistakable sense of joy in Bolano's writing - and that optimistic faith in literature and the craft of literature shines through these short stories which, once again, concern themselves with exile and alienation.
This collection is earthy and gawdy - I particularly liked Sensini and Dentist - some of the other stories were less memorable. ( )
  Voise15 | Dec 19, 2011 |
I wondered as I read this collection of short stories if these really were stories at all. Most have no discernible plot or story arc. However, everything that Bolano writes is sometimes touched with magic. Every word is right - credit due to the translator - and every sentence perfectly weighted. His stories, his memories, his anecdotes - whatever you want to call them - are haunting and memorable. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Oct 29, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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Roberto Bolañoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Andrews, ChrisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Selected stories from other two collections: Llamadas telefónicas (Telephone calls) and Putas asesinas (Murdering whores). It should not be combined with either of those collections, or with The return, which consists of a different selection of stories from those same collections.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0811216888, Paperback)

The first short-story collection in English by the acclaimed Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. Winner of a 2005 PEN Translation Fund Award.

"The melancholy folklore of exile," as Roberto Bolaño once put it, pervades these fourteen haunting stories. Bolano's narrators are usually writers grappling with private (and generally unlucky) quests, who typically speak in the first person, as if giving a deposition, like witnesses to a crime. These protagonists tend to take detours and to narrate unresolved efforts. They are characters living in the margins, often coming to pieces, and sometimes, as in a nightmare, in constant flight from something horrid.

In the short story "Silva the Eye," Bolaño writes in the opening sentence: "It's strange how things happen, Mauricio Silva, known as The Eye, always tried to escape violence, even at the risk of being considered a coward, but the violence, the real violence, can't be escaped, at least not by us, born in Latin America in the 1950s, those of us who were around 20 years old when Salvador Allende died."

Set in the Chilean exile diaspora of Latin America and Europe, and peopled by Bolaño's beloved "failed generation," the stories of Last Evenings on Earth have appeared in The New Yorker and Grand Street.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:29 -0400)

Stories of the "failed generation" set in the Chilean exile diaspora of Latin America and Europe.

(summary from another edition)

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