Roberto Bolaño : biography
Roberto Bolaño Ávalos () (28 April 1953 – 15 July 2003) was a Chilean novelist and poet. In 1999, Bolaño won the Rómulo Gallegos Prize for his novel Los detectives salvajes (The Savage Detectives), and in 2008 he was posthumously awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for his novel 2666, which was described by board member Marcela Valdes as a "work so rich and dazzling that it will surely draw readers and scholars for ages."
Bolaño was born in 1953 in Santiago, the son of a truck driver (who was also a boxer) and a teacher.], 19 July 2007] He and his sister spent their early years in southern and coastal Chile. By his own account, he was a skinny, nearsighted, bookish, and unpromising child. He was dyslexic and was often bullied at school, where he felt as an outsider.
In 1968 he moved with his family to Mexico City, dropped out of school, worked as a journalist, and became active in left-wing political causes.], August 9, 2005]
A key episode in Bolaño's life, mentioned in different forms in several of his works, occurred in 1973, when he left Mexico for Chile to "help build the revolution" by supporting the socialist regime of Salvador Allende. After Augusto Pinochet's coup against Allende, Bolaño was arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist and spent eight days in custody. He was rescued by two former classmates who had become prison guards. Bolaño describes this experience in the story "Dance Card." According to the version of events he provides in this story, he was not tortured as he had expected, but "in the small hours I could hear them torturing others; I couldn't sleep and there was nothing to read except a magazine in English that someone had left behind. The only interesting article in it was about a house that had once belonged to Dylan Thomas. . . . I got out of that hole thanks to a pair of detectives who had been at high school with me in Los Ángeles." The episode is also recounted, from the point of view of Bolaño's former classmates, in the story "Detectives." Nevertheless, since 2009 Bolaño's Mexican friends from that era have cast doubts on whether he was even in Chile in 1973 at all.
For most of his early adulthood, Bolaño was a vagabond, living at one time or another in Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, France, and Spain.
In the 1970s, Bolaño became a Trotskyist and a founding member of infrarrealismo, a minor poetic movement. He affectionately parodied aspects of the movement in The Savage Detectives.
After an interlude in El Salvador, spent in the company of the poet Roque Dalton and the guerrillas of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, he returned to Mexico, living as a bohemian poet and literary enfant terrible, "a professional provocateur feared at all the publishing houses even though he was a nobody, bursting into literary presentations and readings," his editor, Jorge Herralde, recalled. His erratic behavior had as much to do with his leftist ideology as with his chaotic lifestyle.
Bolaño moved to Europe in 1977, and finally made his way to Spain, where he married and settled on the Mediterranean coast near Barcelona, on the Costa Brava, working as a dishwasher, campground custodian, bellhop, and garbage collector. He worked by day and wrote at night. From 1981Bolaño, Roberto (2002). "Total Anarchy: Twenty-Two Years Later", 2002 introduction to Antwerp. — Bolaño explains how he wrote this book in 1980, his last year in Barcelona, then moved to Blanes in 1981. to his death, he lived in the small Catalan beach town of Blanes.
He continued with poetry, before shifting to fiction in his early forties. In an interview Bolaño said that he began writing fiction because he felt responsible for the future financial well-being of his family, which he knew he could never secure from the earnings of a poet. This was confirmed by Jorge Herralde, who explained that Bolaño "abandoned his parsimonious beatnik existence" because the birth of his son in 1990 made him "decide that he was responsible for his family's future and that it would be easier to earn a living by writing fiction." However, he continued to think of himself primarily as a poet, and a collection of his verse, spanning 20 years, was published in 2000 under the title Los perros románticos (The Romantic Dogs).
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