Talk:Roberto Bolaño

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There are no sources to this article, which makes it questionable. Also, even though it's not a stub anymore, it doesn't follow Wikipedia's style guide.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:34, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

That said, it looks basically accurate to me. But this could use a lot of work. His reputation has been growing steadily, especially since his death, and we could use much more of an article. - Jmabel | Talk 21:18, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Right. But how about some citations of sources? Macphysto (talk) 19:06, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

A lot of areas in this article are directly pulled off of the New York Times Book Review, a review entitled "The Departed" by Jonathan Lethem--specifically the intro, "2666" and "Themes". I believe the language is inappropriately stylized for something that is supposed to be a reference source. Also, too much direct praise is given to the author and his work. This is appropriate for Jonathan Lethem's critique, but not a reference article. Praise should be quoted from third parties, not imparted directly. This article needs to be rewritten. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:43, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Agree 100% per cent with the sentiments above. Macphysto (talk) 20:50, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Providing proper sources[edit]

I'm going to do some significant work on this over the next week or so, I hope.Macphysto (talk) 12:19, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

I've done some work on this now. Two things are noticeable: (a) someone thought it was okay to find stuff on the web, cut it and paste it here without acknowledging the source, (b) there is a paucity of entirely credible material in English relating to RB (as opposed, that is, to stuff that's interesting but has been cobbled together without citations). The section in the WP entry on RB about themes seems at the moment to fall within the category of "original research", i.e. unacceptable here. Macphysto (talk) 15:29, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the themes section seems just to have plundered from Jonathan Lethem's review. It will need rewriting. Macphysto (talk)
I've now tweaked the themes section, which had just been lifted from Lethem. It undoubtedly needs further work.Macphysto (talk) 17:02, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

RB and heroin[edit]

It's been casually accepted that RB was a heroin addict and that his death from liver disease was really the legacy of his heroin abuse. However, recent reports suggest that RB may not in fact have been a heroin user. His widow is certainly saying he wasn't. While it is obvious why she might want to detoxify his name, it's also apparent that the heroin use issue is contentious, so I have amended the details of this on the WP page to reflect the uncertainty surrounding this issue. Macphysto (talk) 17:02, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Why is "heroin use contentious"? To whom ? Both Bolano & his friends during his lifetime have been very open about the issue. Bolano was a heavy drinker, cannabis smoker, pill user as well as opioid-dependent during his youth. read the Infra-Realist Manifesto ! I don't think this takes away any from his achievements as a writer. I think this is an effort by his publishers/estate to 'air-brush' him in death in order to maximize sales. "Recent reports suggest..." Yeah, right ! & recent reports also suggest that Hitler wasn't a genocidal maniac...! T00kentree (talk) 17:41, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

Improvements as of 3 December 2008[edit]

I think the section on RB's life is now much clearer, with a more logical structure. It also contains more information that it did previously, and there are proper citations.

The discussion of RB's books needs some work. Although I've read all the books treated here, I don't necessarily feel qualified to provide summaries or substantive critiques of them.

Additionally, it's not clear to me how much the article in its old, citation-free form owed to the books mentioned in the section on Further Reading. In future, could users please provide clear sources for all information added to this page? For instance, the quotations from Jorge Herralde are interesting, but I haven't been able to track all of them down. Macphysto (talk) 17:31, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

By Night in Chile Publication Date[edit]

At first, the article says that By Night in Chile was the first book to be translated into English in 1996. This seems somewhat suspect as the Bibliography section of the article claims Bolano didn't write By Night in Chile until 2000. Clearly one of the years is wrong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:57, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

I can't recall how this came about, but it's been amended now. Macphysto (talk) 19:36, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Newest Controversy[edit]

I don't know Wiki well enough to comment on the new controversy (surrounding both Bolano's heroin use and whether or not he was in Chile during the Pinochet coup--see the NYTimes article for more info), but perhaps someone ought to. I also wrote this on the subject, if anyone cares to check it out: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:03, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

It has been commented on, and indeed had been commented on at the time this comment was added. More detailed treatment of the subject really ought to wait until the facts are established, if indeed they can be. Macphysto (talk) 14:27, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

On 20 March 2009, added a brief annotation to indicate that there is controversy over whether the episode of Bolaño's brief detention in Chile is literal fact. I tried not to make a judgment one way or the other, but rather to alert readers to this area of uncertainty. (naomieva)—Preceding unsigned comment added by Naomieva (talkcontribs) 01:47, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

22 March 2009, my earlier annotation had been erased. This time I put it in citing Larry Rohter's article in the NYT. I do not think that Wikipedia readers should be told in positive terms that Bolaño was detained in Chile, since this might be an invention. Wikipedia should indicate that some doubt has been cast on Bolaño's story. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Naomieva (talkcontribs) 16:01, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Adding to this page[edit]

Constructive additions to this page are of course welcome from all. However, could users please (a) include citations & (b) avoid personal evaluations? Saying a collection of stories is "bizarre and fascinating" is not appropriate. Macphysto (talk) 23:52, 15 December 2008 (UTC)


The section on this book seems to imply that there is only one bathroom at the University of Mexico City. This surely cannot be right? Macphysto (talk) 14:26, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

National Book Critics Circle Award[edit]

A source needs to be added for the information about RB winning the National Book Critics Circle Award. Also, as this is a significant aspect of his literary career, I think it would be good if additional information were added regarding what Natasha Wimmer said in the acceptance speech, etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jipajappa (talkcontribs) 03:50, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

This has been added now. Wouldn't it have been just as easy to provide a source as to write this on the talk page, though? Macphysto (talk) 21:39, 7 April 2009 (UTC)


As noted previously, there is a lot of doubt over Bolaño's story that he was in Chile during the coup of Sept. 1973 and was detained. Earlier, I added to the article a reference to the NY Times article that summarizes the skepticism on this point. However, this addition was deleted along with the reference to the NYT article. As it stands, the article seems devoted to preserving the mythology or mystique surrounding Bolaño, to the point of excluding all the information that has come out since his death. I wish that a professional critic would rewrite this article completely and use documentation scrupulously. Naomieva (talk) 16:25, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Possible Bolaño essay on past heroin use?[edit]

In the New Yorker article, the writer includes this passage:

"The sense of creative atrophy that permeates “The Savage Detectives” was belied by Bolaño’s own life: his literary output accelerated and deepened the closer he got to death. In the mid-eighties, he settled in Blanes, a tourist town on Spain’s Costa Brava. He stopped using heroin. (A moving essay recounts his detoxification: he got his methadone dose at noon and spent the rest of the day lying on the beach, crying.)"

Read more:

Anyone know which essay the writer refers to? Infamous30 (talk) 09:14, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

The essay is most likely "Playa" ("Beach") from the collection of nonfiction "Entre parentesis." The "truth" of this essay has been contested. It is now considered a work of fiction.

From Rohter article in The New York Times: "Mr. Echevarría and Jorge Herralde, Mr. Bolaño’s publisher, said that the introduction and title page of future Spanish-language editions of the book would be changed to incorporate language to indicate that 'Beach' is fiction, as will the English-language version, which New Directions intends to publish next year." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Martin Gener (talkcontribs) 13:35, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

I find it fascinating in following the evolution of this article from before any translated Bolano had hit the big time, that the "story" Night Dance which fictionalizes his Chile experience is now being referred to as an "essay" - & the "essay" The Beach which tells in rather florid prose the simple daily experience of a beach bum on methadone is now going to be referred to as a "fiction" !!! Is Heroin addiction still so stigmatizing in the US in the 21st Century that - fearing that a large conservative populace will simply refuse to buy his books - his publishers, editors & even his widow have decided to simply re-write the man's biography ? Reminds me of a quote in Billy Wilder's 'Fedora' wryly commenting on Hollywood's obsession with image : "In those days you could have as many husbands as you liked, but no children; nowadays, you can have as many children as you like - but no husband...!" Apparently, 50 years after the 1960's, US Publishers feel that you can write as many Master-Pieces as you like but you should not have shared needles during the process... — Preceding unsigned comment added by T00kentree (talkcontribs) 17:31, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
When you say "I find it fascinating in following the evolution of this article", do you mean this WP article? I'm not sure I get your point. Are you saying WP editors have shifted the definition, publishers or public taste? If this is about this WP article, please say what you would wish to change. Span (talk) 19:27, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

Potential source for review[edit]

Per WP:EL professional reviews should be integrated into the article and not tacked on as external link. Active Banana (talk) 16:55, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Limited bibliography[edit]

This article has a limited bibliography evidently written by someone who is only familiar with Roberto Bolano's works in translation, giving only passing mention to other works as-yet untranslated. A more complete list of Roberto Bolano's works is at Bibliography and at The Complete Review - I'm not sure if it is ok to take the list from these sites. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aacool (talkcontribs) 05:49, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

I cleaned up the many repetitions in the bibliography section (a lot of titles appeared twice - once under the Spanish title and again under the English one) and removed all irrelevant data; since this is the English Wikipedia the books are listed by their English titles, with the original Spanish titles in parentheses. In cases where the books have not yet been translated the Spanish title appears first and the (presumed) English title appears afterwards. I think I might also start a separate bibliography page. AshcroftIleum (talk) 23:33, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

No Section on Criticism?[edit]

Why is there no section on criticism of this author? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:12, 21 January 2012 (UTC)


This whole section is a bit of a mess, I don't think this is the right place for summaries or analyses of the books - they all have their own articles for that. This section should be an overview of his work (perhaps combined with the "themes" section), preferably chronological, focusing more on the external (process of writing, publication, prizes, etc.) than the internal (plot, characters) elements. AshcroftIleum (talk) 11:24, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Removed copyvio passage from 2666 section[edit]

I removed a passage from the 2666 section "published posthumously in Spanish in 2004 to tremendous acclaim..." because it's swiped straight out of Jonathan Lethem's NYT review. If anyone wants to re-establish that content in original language... feel free.... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lowfellow (talkcontribs) 17:07, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Roberto Bolaño/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

==Untitled== A lot of areas in this article are directly pulled off of the New York Times Book Review, a review entitled "The Departed" by Jonathan Lethem. I believe the language is inappropriately stylized for something that is supposed to be a reference source. Also, too much direct praise is given to the author and his work. This is appropriate for Jonathan Lethem's critique, but not a reference article. Praise should be quoted from third parties, not imparted directly. This article needs to be rewritten.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:40, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Last edited at 04:31, 25 July 2013 (UTC). Substituted at 04:43, 30 April 2016 (UTC)