Friday, January 16, 2009

On Bolano’s 2666, 100 pages in

One possibly thought-provoking item regarding the translation of Roberto Bolano's 2666 is the Spanish cab driver asking Espinoza if he likes "soccer."

It dawns on me that Europe feels like America in translation. London sounds like D.C. But nonetheless, Bolano is getting at something about contemporary reality...that it seems quite homogenized. Space-time seems warped by individual temperament. Far-flung like-minded people are bound together via technology [airplanes, phones, Internet, literary studies].

And these intelligent people are no more aware of "Reality" than less intelligent people, or those portrayed in soap operas. Awareness seems something else. The human mind has not evolved rationally and is not a rational entity. Yet it uses rationality to get laid and kick ass, join the jet set and become a transnational being.

Morality and rationality seem aimed at the same thing—the universal and ubiquitous projection of selfhood. Truth and goodness serve my purposes. Thus I might be a tenured professor of international acclaim, but that doesn't stop me from nearly stomping a Pakistani cabbie to death. It's my honor, my ego that counts. Not yours.

Bolano, it seems to me, is thus far hinting at what techno-antedeluvianism [sic] feels like. He has no heroes, only villains. And it is the villains we identify with.

I have a feeling that Benno von Archimboldi will, in the end, be no hero either [in his role so far as absent hero, he holds the text together, the eye of the hurricane]….

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