Writing about Writers

Good Readings reviews 2666:

Those familiar with the work of Roberto Bolaño will not be surprised to hear that numerous writers,
critics, and other literary types populate the pages of his newly translated posthumous masterpiece 2666. Normally I’m highly suspicious of novels about writers or writing—most often it’s an excuse for self-obsessed navel-gazing or indulgence in tired, predictable metafictional exercises. Either way, the results are almost always profoundly boring.

And yet I absolutely love the fiction of Roberto Bolaño. To date I’ve read four of his books—2666, The Savage Detectives, Amulet, and By Night in Chile—all of which feature writers as characters, as well as extensive discussions of writing and literature. Given my general distaste for this kind of content in fiction, it would stand to reason that I shouldn’t particularly care for Bolaño. But if you asked me right now to name the best novels of the past decade, 2666 and The Savage Detectives would top the list.

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