Narrator of “Infrarealism”

Roberto Bolaño

An exceptional writer who, despite dying at an early age, managed to receive international acclaim during his lifetime and is now an icon of contemporary literature.

Saturday, August 22, 2009  
Bolaño (Photo: El Mercurio)

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Roberto Bolaño Ávalos was born in Santiago on April 28, 1953. He moved to Mexico City at the age of 13. A supporter of President Salvador Allende’s government, he returned to Chile in 1973 to support the process of the Popular Unity. The coup in September that year took him by surprise and he was arrested along with thousands of the Popular Unity’s followers. He returned to Mexico after being released, with a brief but intense experience that - at the age of 20 - marked his life and literature.

He began his literary activities in Mexico. He founded “infrarealism,” which controversially installed itself on the Mexican literary scene. As a young poet he was distinguished in the anthology “Between the rain and the Rainbow” by Soledad Bianchi, but narrative is the genre that made him famous. He later moved to Catalonia, Spain. His main works include: “Los detectives salvajes” (The Savage Detectives) “La literature nazi en América (Nazi Literature in the Americas) “Nocturno de Chile” (“By Night  in Chile), “Lso perros románticos” (The romantic Dogs), Putas asesinas (Killer Whores), “El gaucho insufrible” (The Unbearable Gaucho) and his posthumous novel “2666.”

The distinctions that Bolaño has received include the Herralde novel prize and the Romulo Gallegas award. In Chile, he has received the Altazor Prize and the Santiago Municipal Literature Prize. In addition to numerous translations, he has also received recognition from international critics.

Roberto Bolaño passed away on 15 July 2003, in Barcelona. The writings that he left unpublished include the volume of poems “The Unknown University” and his already famous novel “2666,” which received - among other acknowledgements - the Salambó prize for the best novel written in Spanish and the National Book Critics Circle Award for books published in English, in addition to ranking among the 10 books of the year in the United States.