5 stars for the idea. 5 stars for the execution. 5 stars for the lasting consideration that will haunt my reading. 5 stars for the ones many of you won’t (and, perhaps, shouldn’t) give it yourself.
Before you read this volume, if you should choose to, read or re-read Bartleby, the Scrivener, unless, of course, you prefer not to.
For me, many roads lead toward or away from Roberto Bolaño. E V-M is one of the landmarks on those roads. Of Bartleby & Co. Bolaño has written (in Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003):
…it’s necessary, out of courtesy, to ask ourselves an increasingly rhetorical question: Is the book we have before us a novel, a collection of literary or anti-literary offerings, a miscellaneous volume that doesn’t fit any category, a diary of the life of a writer, an interweaving of newspaper pieces? The answer, the only answer that occurs to me just now, is that it’s something else, something that might be a blend of all the preceding options, and we might have before us a twenty-first-century novel, by which I mean a hybrid novel, a gathering together of the best of fiction and journalism and history and memoir.I’d be surprised if I was the only reader who speculated , while reading, on whether or not this was a novel (it is; it clearly is). That said, I found and continue to believe, future editions of B&Co. would serve readers well with the inclusion of a bibliography and index.
Another title on my ‘not for everyone’ list, as is the follow-up suggestion to check out Bolaño’s short story, Enrique Martín, (which is dedicated to E V-M) in Last Evenings on Earth.