Distant Star by Roberto Bolano

“In the current socio-political climate, he said to himself, committing suicide is absurd and redundant. Better to become an undercover poet.”

An esoteric read, no doubt, Distant Star was too didactic for me. I understand that 25811-1the background is enveloped in the ruthless politics of Chile, and its subsequent impression on the literary culture and society, but the story lacked the surreal, dream-like element which marked Bolano’s 2666.  I’m assuming the disarray of the plot and the characters can be better understood by someone who has lived through the Pinochet regime, or is aware of the political atmosphere prevalent in South Americas, or is already acquainted with the literature that is an amalgam of political commentary and various literary movements of the era. From excessive violence to astute humor deeply infused with political and literary references, Distant Star can only be recommended to one who is an avid fan of literature shaped by political turmoil.

“So Lorenzo grew up in Chile without arms, an unfortunate situation for any child, but he also grew up in Pinochet’s Chile, which turned unfortunate situations into desperate ones, on top of which he soon discovered that he was homosexual, which made his already desperate situation inconceivable and indescribable. Given these circumstances, it is not surprising that Lorenzo became an artist. (What else could he do?)”

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