His paperback novellas from New Directions were strange and exciting. We liked By Night in Chile and Distant Star. We liked him showing up in the fiction section of The New Yorker, where his stories felt baggy and loose and ready to punch you in the face. We were bursting with anticipation for The Savage Detectives, we read it all at once, thinking Roberto Bolaño must be the hottest Latin American export since Selena. And then every poser in Brooklyn decided to lay down $30.00 for 2666, the reviews were ubiquitous and nearly orgasmic, and we shook our heads and said, “Meh. Nice endpapers.”
Did anyone else notice that when The Savage Detectives came out, FSG described it as Bolaño’s true masterpiece, compared to his messier, flawed, unfinished novel 2666 that they would be publishing later? They said it was really important that everyone go out and purchase The Savage Detectives right now, since it was the apex of his work. And later, when they published 2666, they described it as Bolaño’s true masterpiece, so much more ambitious and layered The Savage Detectives. They said it was really important that everyone go out and purchase 2666 right now. That was devious. Another point for the publicity team at FSG.
Well, if you want to hear some people talk about how much they love Roberto Bolaño, go to McNally Jackson on Thursday night.
By the way, Jonathan Lethem, what the fuck? Are you just attaching yourself to any hot-shit literary product that comes along these days? Do you think you’re curating a museum of cool? Did you even shake hands with Roberto Bolaño? Get away from our Latin American literature. You’re getting as bad as Quentin Tarantino Presents.