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Me and Gary, brooding (September 2004)


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Be quiet the doctor's wife said gently, let's all keep quiet, there are times when words serve no purpose, if only I, too, could weep, say everything with tears, not have to speak in order to be understood.

José Saramago

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🦋 The Alameda

Parecía un gusano blanco, con su sombrero de paja y un Bali colgándole del labio inferior.
The first line of Bolaño's story "The Worm" (from Llamadas telefónicas) jumps out at me, makes me do a double-take. The same line occurs in his poem The Worm, from The Romantic Dogs, which was the first text of Bolaño's I ever read...

The story is an amazing one, indeed I think it might be my favorite so far from either Llamadas telefónicas or Putas asesinas. It will not really bear (that I can see) any summarizing on my part... I hope it is in translation so I can tell people to read it. And, yes! It is included in Last Evenings on Earth as The Grub.

One thing that really hit me as I was reading it was recognizing the setting -- I was walking through the Alameda and the Palacio de Bellas Artes only a week ago! I was right outside the Sótano bookstore -- a couple of locations, including the one across from the Alameda. This makes the story nicely concrete.

The story includes a lot of Bolaño's other work, specifically (of course) the above poem and some imagery from various parts of The Savage Detectives. And a note as I'm Googling around -- I see Jorge Ferrer-Vidal Turrull has a novel from 1966 called El gusano blanco; I wonder if Bolaño is intending any reference to that book.

posted morning of August 21st, 2010: 4 responses
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