I’ve been putting off any attempt at writing on this one because: A) it’s rather a challenge without spoilers (although, depending on how one reads the title, the very idea of spoiler is rather silly) and B) this is one I would expect casual readers to dislike…intensely. Which leads me to:
You have confused the true and the real.A line that Elizabeth Hand, in Fantasy & Science Fiction calls Dhalgren’s “minatory epigraph.” I’m not a reader of F&SF or Ms Hand, but, dammit, they both deserve credit for use of the word ‘minatory.’
Rodrigo S.M., an annoyingly intrusive narrator, presents the story of Macabéa—I say ‘presents’ because at times he seems to be relating events in her life as they occur, and at other times, he presents them as if he’s creating that life. Think: intrusive narrator meets metafiction, hence the line from Dhalgren. Her life is squalid, depressing, yet at times, she delivers very funny comments—not that she’s aware of them.
Another reviewer mentions that Bolaño spoke highly of Lispector. I can’t find mention in either Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003, but this does strike me as something he’d have recommended. It’s one that I’d recommend as well—just not recommend for everyone.