Bolaño essay on Full Stop

I wrote about Bolaño’s legacy and the state of Latin American literature in translation for Full Stop:

The question always arises: why hasn’t Mario Bellatin or Jorge Volpi or Fernando Vallejo or Ricardo Piglia or Enrique Vila-Matas or Daniel Sada (whom Bolaño called “the most difficult, a radical writer if there ever was one”) or Rodrigo Fresan or Juan Villoro (“his stories are some of the best written in Spanish today”—Bolaño) or Sergio Pitol or X, Y, or Z attained the same status in U.S. publishing circles (and the American reading public) as Bolaño? And inevitably the answers are convoluted and usually involve the ignorance or lack of cultivation and discernment among American readers, or the sad state of the publishing industry, but the Occam’s Razor truth is often that those writers, whoever they may be, are simply not as good. And that’s okay. Many of these books still need a champion. The truly inventive ones, such as Luis Martin-Santos’ Time of Silence or Mempo Giardinelli’s Sultry Moon, still need a prominent advocate to stand up and say repeatedly, in more than one review: “This is a truly important book.” Which is what happened with the Boom writers and Bolaño.

From Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli

“Unlike the majority of gringo publishers, White was not monolingual. And in contrast to the majority of gringos who speak Spanish and have spent some time in Latin America and think that gives them a kind of international third-world experience that confers on them the intellectual and moral qualifications for—I don’t quite know what—White really did understand the fucked-up mechanisms of Latin American literary history.”

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