Top positive review
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A look at life, poetry, and revolution in Mexico City.
on 31 July 2013
Roberto Bolaño came to my attention when his book 2666 appeared on a shelf in my local bookshop. 2666 is an enormous book and it looks impressive and is quite pretty. Always being susceptible to the charms of a pretty book I investigated, saw the ebullient praise of Bolaño's work and got suspicious. Is he this good? Will I like his work?
"Amulet" provided the toe in the water for this author's writing and my impression, having finished this teaser, is that I shall be reading his other works.
In "Amulet", Bolaño gives the reader a view of the world of South American poetry, and the poetry scene in Mexico City in particular, over a period spanning the 1960s and 70s. The narrator is a lover of poetry who has devoted her life to being near the poets whose work she loves, and the young poets whose energy, enthusiasm and freedom of thought touches her.
If asked what this book is about I would say it is about poetry, revolutionary thoughts, love, the passing of time and growing old.
Bolaño's mechanism for presenting this history is interesting and I think frees the reader from the linear passage of time, and blurs the boundaries between real memories and possible memories.
I would suggest the narrator is not one hundred percent reliable, but the result comes across as a credible perception of Mexico City in those decades and the symbiotic relationship between the poetry movements and South American revolutionary thought, and indeed, action.