This essay reads the works of the late Roberto Bolaño, arguably the most widely read and significant Latin American novelist since Gabriel García Márquez, according to their relation to world literature, or what has come to be understood as the “Latin American global novel.” I argue that such a conception circles around the secret and more sinister global scene at work in Bolaño's texts, understood as the figure of global war, traced from his mourning of the ideals of modernity (the fall of the Spanish Second Republic, the Nazis, the overthrow of Chile's Salvador Allende) to his works' deeply felt uncertainties about our present times (post-dictatorial reconciliation, narcoterror, the women of Ciudad Juárez). Focusing on the short novel Amulet, the essay proposes Bolaño's writing as an experiment in infrapolitical dwelling in an age unmoored from the orienting promise of modernity that had previously assured the place of the literary institution.
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Samuel Steinberg; Latin American Literature in the Age of Global War. Comparative Literature 1 March 2017; 69 (1): 129–141. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-3795177
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