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A tour de force of black humor and imaginary erudition, Nazi Literature in the Americas presents itself as a biographical dictionary of writers who espoused extreme right-wing ideologies in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Comprising short biographies about imaginary writers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Columbia, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, and the United States, Nazi Literature in the Americas includes descriptions of the writers' works, cross-references, a bibliography, and also an "Epilogue for Monsters". All the writers are carefully and credibly situated in real literary worlds. There are 14 thematic sections with titles such as "Forerunners and Figures of the Anti-Enlightenment", "Magicians, Mercenaries, and Miserable Individuals", and "North American Poets".
Brisk and pseudoacademic, Nazi Literature in the Americas delicately balances irony and pathos. Bolaño does not simply use his writers for target practice: he manages to sketch character portraits that are often pathetically funny, sometimes surprisingly moving, and, on occasion, authentically chilling. A remarkably inventive, funny, and disquieting sui generis novel, Nazi Literature in the Americas offers a clear view into the workings of one of the most extraordinarily fecund literary imaginations of our time.
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- andrew ross
The most Bolaño of all Bolaño
I love all of his work, but this one is one of the most "fun" and structurally interesting than the others, even though it's about, you know, nazis. A strangely enjoyable book, as is all of Bolaño (except The Third Reich).
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- Jikai Zenshin
Eerie and fascinating
The most incredible aspect of this fictional history is the fact that much of the artists and works are not always linked directly to nazism. More often it’s a paranoia, a sense of futility, or just outsider status. For example, Edgar Allen Poe’s essay, Philosophy of Furniture, appears on the list at the end of the book. Does that mean that the narrative voice, named Bolaño in the book, qualifies it as an example of American nazism? If so, why? This is a fascinating dive through layers and layers of a profoundly creative mind.