"La ciudad, como toda ciudad, era inagotable."

Today's newspapers include two pieces I hope to translate and post here eventually. The first is Ibsen Martínez's weekly column in El Nacional, which today focuses on the novelist Salvador Garmendia. For those who read Spanish, I've posted the original version here.

The second one is Héctor Silva Michelena's op-ed article in TalCual. Silva Michelena attempts to untangle some of the most recent statements by Venezuela's Dadaist enfant terrible regarding socialism.


I'll definitely be reading Richard Gott's upcoming book, Hugo Chávez: The Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela (Verso, 2005). Gott's previous book on Venezuela was quite good, even though I am diametrically opposed to this type of leftist hagiography. What I find compelling about Gott's work on Venezuela is the glimpse it gives me into the logic of those in the far left who use Latin America (and the Third World) as a staging ground for their revolutionary fantasies. Hypocritical intellectuals (such as Tariq Ali, Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, Naomi Klein, etc.) who support outdated versions of "revolution" in the Third World, as long as it remains far from their comfortable offices and high-paying academic positions. An insidious type of leftist orientalism.


Which is why I appreciate Roberto Bolaño so much. Since he often pointed out this tendency among many in the left to ignore the crimes of their fellow travelers. I'm about to finish the first part of 2666 later tonight. I recently found out New Directions has published a translation of a second short novel of his, entitled Distand Star (cf. this review in The San Francisco Bay Guardian). I have a feeling I'll be writing about 2666 quite often over the next few months. The last time I encountered a novel that was so magnificent (aside from Los detectives salvajes) was a few years ago, when I read W.G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn.

At one point in 2666, when the scene has shifted from Europe to Mexico, Bolaño says the following about Juárez: "The city, like all cities, was endless."

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