Books Readed: 2666


by Roberto Bolaño
translated by Natasha Wimmer

The Part About The Critics

Worse was discovering what the members of the group thought about his own attempts at fiction. Their opinion was so negative that there were times—some nights, for example, when he couldn’t sleep—that he began to wonder in all seriousness whether they were making a veiled attempt to get him to go away, stop bothering them, never show his face again.

If volition is bound to social imperatives, as William James believed, and it’s therefore easier to go to war than it is to quit smoking, one could say that Liz Norton was a woman who found it easier to quit smoking than to go to war.

… it’s common knowledge that a conversation involving only a few people, with everyone listening to everyone else and taking time to think and not shouting, tends to be more productive or at least more relaxed than a mass conversation, which runs the permanent risk of becoming a rally, or, because of the necessary brevity of the speeches, a series of slogans that fade as soon as they’re put into words.

“A _badulaque_,” said Espinoza, “is someone of no consequence. It’s a word that can also be applied to fools, but there are fools of consequence, and _badulaque_ applies only to fools of no consequence.”

She considered herself a free woman and had an answer for everything. Whatever she didn’t understand didn’t interest her. She never thought about the future, even her son’s future, but only the present, a perpetual present.

Coincidence obeys no laws and if it does we don’t know what they are. Coincidence, if you’ll permit me the simile, is like the manifestation of God at every moment on our planet. A senseless God making senseless gestures at his senseless creatures.

Calm is the one thing that will never let us down… Ethics lets us down? The sense of duty lets us down? Honesty lets us down? Curiosity lets us down? Loves lets us down? Bravery lets us down? Art lets us down? That’s right, said the voice, everything lets us down… except calm, calm is the one thing that never lets us down… though that’s no guarantee of anything, I have to tell you.

Russell Etchen was born 1979 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Artist, book designer, and curator living and working in Los Angeles


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