Bolaño: The Last Interview


“M.M.: What do you wish to do before dying?

R.B.: Nothing special. Well, clearly I’d prefer not to die. But sooner or later the distinguished lady arrives. The problem is that sometimes she’s neither a lady nor very distinguished, but, as Nicanor Parra says in a poem, she’s a hot wench who will make your teeth chatter no matter how fancy you think you are.”

I had totally forgotten about Bolaño’s last interview, which the NY Times Paper Cuts has just now made me remember.

I also hadn’t even realized that Melville House published this last interview, along with some supplementary conversations with Bolaño.

I haven’t tackled much of his smaller works, because after the experience of 2666, I figured I’d be left wanting.

But I’m deeply interested in the man himself who apparently was a great “friend to his readers.” I’m eager to read anything and everything about his own life, his own reading habits, his beliefs, and his vexations. I would have loved to hear him talk about books.

What interests me, especially in this week of fallen giants (Zinn, Salinger), is how he lived and wrote with such an acute awareness of impending death and dissolution.

And how he seemed to qualify literature as a method of living with death while still being very much alive.

I guess I’m always eager to find more uses for literature, and the more uses, however imaginary I find for it, the happier I am trying to write it.

Michael Berger is a barely-published writer and book-seller living in San Francisco. He is one of the founding Corsairs of the Iron Garters Bike Club and is currently pursuing a degree in applied pataphysics. He sometimes eats oatmeal for dinner. More from this author →