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QUIZ: Roberto BolaÑo

Chilean author Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) was one of the leading South American literary figures at the turn of the 21st century, paving a new direction away from the Boom.  He completed 12 novels during his life and published various poetry collections. For much of his life he lived a nomadic existence. He fled Chile when it fell under the military dictatorship of Pinochet and settled in Mexico, but he also lived in El Salvador and France before settling in Spain, just outside Barcelona. At the time of his early death in 2003, he left behind the 1000 page novel, 2666, his magnum opus, revolving  around an elusive German author and the unsolved murders of over 100 women in Mexico, but encompassing a universe of poetry, philosophy, tales and ruminations from a cast of colorful characters as it explores 20th-century degeneration. When the book was eventually published, English translations of his works followed.  The New York Times Book Review included 2666 in the list of  “10 Best Books of 2008”; Time named it Best Fiction Book of 2008; and the novel won the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Try your hand at guessing the answers to questions about his writing and you’re in the running to receive a 30-euro (£23 / $33) gift certificate to spend at Amazon; in case of a tie, a name will be drawn. Deadline: Nov. 1, 2022




Answer the following questions:

1 Who narrates the first and third section of The Savage Detectives?

2  Which work features an aviator in the Chilean air force whose sky poetry becomes famous?

3 What is the title of the poem that begins:
En aquel tiempo yo tenía veinte años
y estaba loco.
Había perdido un país
pero había ganado un sueño.

Back then, I’d reached the age of twenty
and I was crazy.
I’d lost a country
but won a dream

4 In The Savage Detectives, Ulises Lima and Arturo Belano are searching for what poet?

5 Which work is set in Spain’s Costa Brava?

6 What is the name of the fictional city based on Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where a huge number of women were murdered?

7 From one of the major works, name the fictional Black North American journalist diverted to Mexico to cover a boxing match between a Black American boxer and a Mexican opponent.

8 What is the name of the priest, who, in the course of a night in this novella, confesses to his failure to resist the oppressive regime of Augusto Pinochet?

9 In this novel the beginning focuses on the “critics,” a group of four European academics, who are single-mindedly focused on the topic of their favorite writer.  What is the name of the British critic?

10  With whom does the character of Arturo Belano in The Savage Detectives have a duel?

11 In 2666 we learn that the acclaimed writer Benno von Archimboldi is a pen name. What was his birth name?

12 Although the title of 2666 is never mentioned in that work, it is mentioned in what other work?

13 In which short story does a melancholy young man called B set off on his first vacation with his handsome father, a truck driver and ex-boxer?

14  Who fears that he is going mad at the end of 2666?

15  In which work does Bolaño present an invented encyclopedia of imaginary fascist writers?

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