Sunday, March 7, 2010

William Burns

by Roberto Bolaño

Roberto Bolaño has become my new favourite writer I think. This issue of the New Yorker (I know I'm way behind) has a four-page story which I believe is excerpted from his recently released (in English anyway) novel 'Monsieur Pain'.

Regardless of where it comes from, the story here is classic Bolaño. It follows a very Borgesian set-up. The story is being narrated by someone who was told the story by its central character, William Burns. Burns moved into a house in some summer mountain resort town, which was being shared by two women of vastly different ages, both of whom he was engaged in a relationship with. The house was strangely built, with oddly-spaced windows (another Borgesian touch).

The women wanted Burns there because they were afraid of another man, who they called 'The Killer', and with whom they had both been in a relationship at some point in the past.

Bolaño's writing is clear and concise, and he does not dwell on the confusion and disconnectedness his protagonist feels. He lets events play out, and while we feel that they had more repercussions for Burns than he shows, they are left for another time (perhaps in the novel?).

No comments: