We hear now from every segment of the literary Establishment, including from the bistro Bolsheviks at N+1, all about Roberto Bolano. Bolano. BOLANO!
Yet I tell you Bolano is shit. Bolano is nothing. Bolano was involved in a Latin American underground literary movement that never accomplished, in ideas or action, one-tenth of what was accomplished THIS decade in this country by the literary rebels in the ULA.
The only reason the name Bolano was discovered and promoted by U.S. literary Overdogs was as a way to co-opt and obscure the more immediate problem-noise of the ULA; of literary revolution HERE. After all, when resurrected Bolano was not only safely distant, he was safely DEAD.
We see literary pods (meaning: without thought) like Francine Prose reviewing Bolano's latest book and admitting, though she doesn't really like it, that at least this time it's a book she's able to read. What she's saying beneath her posturing is that Bolano is stultifying, Bolano is boring, yet by reviewing the book for a major publication she's taking it seriously. She's implicitly endorsing Bolano-- the propaganda project of Bolano-- in a way she would never acknowledge American literary rebels in groups like the ULA.
Why is this?
It's solely this: That Bolano has been approved by the Machine to which Francine Prose like a brainwashed drone is wholly obedient.
Is this what we want from literature? The tired noddings of unmoving bureaucrats and bureaucracies? Should not literature represent the wild loud sound of active rebellion, contention, and actual change?
If we burn down the moldy institutions of an imprisoned art, and chase out the obedient black-robed overseers, THEN we'll honor the authentic, unco-opted spirit of Roberto Bolano.