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This review is from: Last Evenings On Earth (Paperback)
You are probably like me and came to reading the late Roberto Bolano through the fantastic The Savage Detectives (now in paperback). I hadn't read this book before until the local reading group had it down to read. Firstly, I must admit that once I had finished it I started it all over again, it is that good.
This book contains 14 short stories, which are all haunting in their own ways. Bolano seems to specialise in what can only be termed as the dispossessed. All the stories deal with people on the fringes of normal society. With stories like the first one, Sensini where two writers enter short story competitions to try to make some money Bolano has also provided us with tales that are semi-autobiographical. The Grub looks at how we see the same people day to day, for instance if you commute into work and stand next to the same person at the station; what would you find out about them if you struck up a friendship with them?
My two favourite tales are Anne Moore's Life in which our narrator tells us about Anne Moore from what he has heard from her; this tale and Mauricio 'The Eye' Silva are both absolutely mesmerising. The latter tale is about a photographer on assignment in India, which should only last a week or so. Silva instead spends about eighteen months in the country after he finds out about a religious sect where young boys are castrated, in the end leaving them only fit to become gay prostitutes. Silva helps two of these boys escape and starts up a life with them. Indeed this tale is reminiscent of Conrad and you could imagine him writing something like it. There are definite shades of Conrad and the great Russian short story writers throughout this collection which makes me wonder if he had read any of them (he was a prolific reader). All in all then this is a great collection of short stories by the leading writer of his generation and is a real feast for those who love to read.