Links Shake the World

I’m in Glasgow for most of this week, for work-related reasons, so posting is likely to be light; but I can at least catch up on my linking.

EDIT: I knew I’d forget something. Can anyone work out, based on these reviews, whether 2666 is a work of the fantastic?

7 thoughts on “Links Shake the World

  1. Thanks for the shoutout, Niall.

    One small correction, though: Solaris Books will be publishing Shine, not Pyr SF. Although I would have been honoured to be published by Lou.

  2. Having read 2666, it isn’t explicitly a work of the fantastic, but rather a “fevered work,” in which reality itself seems to be amped up, but nothing overtly “magical” or ‘fantastic” occurs. In the sense of “mood” rather than anything of a concrete relationship, Bolaño’s work reminded me in some ways of some of William Faulkner’s work in how the Devil may be more than a metaphor, but that there still isn’t all that quite of an explicit reality about the Devil as well. I thought it was a well-done metaphorical work, but I never would have considered it as a work of the fantastic because Bolaño’s narrative tools are different than those employed by magic realists, for example.

  3. Thanks. The language in those reviews gets pretty fevered too, so I really couldn’t tell … Lethem comparing it to Murakami didn’t help, either.

  4. I haven’t yet read 2666, but I’m struck by the way the Slate review opens:

    According to Proust, one proof that we are reading a major new writer is that his writing immediately strikes us as ugly. Only minor writers write beautifully, since they simply reflect back to us our preconceived notion of what beauty is; we have no problem understanding what they are up to, since we have seen it many times before. When a writer is truly original, his failure to be conventionally beautiful makes us see him, initially, as shapeless, awkward, or perverse. Only once we have learned how to read him do we realize that this ugliness is really a new, totally unexpected kind of beauty and that what seemed wrong in his writing is exactly what makes him great.

    I must say I’m suspicious of this; and suspicious of it precisely because there’s a part of me that finds it very appealing … the part, of course, that wants to weild it against reviewers who say my books are shapeless, awkward, or perverse. (‘aha, what seems to this reviewer wrong in my writing is exactly what makes me great!’) The problem is that, although once in a blue moon a writer will come along who achieves the kind of radical greatness described here, most books that are (most art that is) ugly and ungainly is ugly and ungainly because it’s not very well done. Nothing is worse for a minor writer, reading a negative review, than dismissing it with: ‘ah but they simply don’t understand my genius.’

    Not that this has anything to do with whether 2666 is genre or not.

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