Beyond Bolaño

Beyond Bolaño: The Global Latin American Novel

Héctor Hoyos
Series: Literature Now
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Beyond Bolaño
    Book Description:

    Through a comparative analysis of the novels of Roberto Bolaño and the fictional work of César Aira, Mario Bellatin, Diamela Eltit, Chico Buarque, Alberto Fuguet, and Fernando Vallejo, among other leading authors, Héctor Hoyos defines and explores new trends in how we read and write in a globalized era. Calling attention to fresh innovations in form, voice, perspective, and representation, he also affirms the lead role of Latin American authors in reshaping world literature.

    Focusing on post-1989 Latin American novels and their representation of globalization, Hoyos considers the narrative techniques and aesthetic choices Latin American authors make to assimilate the conflicting forces at work in our increasingly interconnected world. Challenging the assumption that globalization leads to cultural homogenization, he identifies the rich textual strategies that estrange and re-mediate power relations both within literary canons and across global cultural hegemonies. Hoyos shines a light on the unique, avant-garde phenomena that animate these works, such as modeling literary circuits after the dynamics of the art world, imagining counterfactual "Nazi" histories, exposing the limits of escapist narratives, and formulating textual forms that resist worldwide literary consumerism. These experiments help reconfigure received ideas about global culture and advance new, creative articulations of world consciousness.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53866-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Globalization as Form
    (pp. 1-32)

    As I set out to write this study, I penned down this simple, obvious observation on a piece of scratch paper and kept it on my desk. There, it was a useful reminder when dealing with my objects of study, which are, precisely, literary representations of the world. In particular, I examine a select corpus of post-1989 Latin American novels that offer invaluable insights on globalization. I also show how these novels contribute to the task of thinking through a related phenomenon, the emerging articulation of the study of literature on a world scale. These two lines of inquiry converge...

    (pp. 33-64)

    The transnational availability of literary themes related to Nazism is a peculiar sign of cultural globalization. After countless spy novels and war films, it is not difficult for any writer, regardless of nationality, to find enough referents to set an intrigue storyline in the rubble of Berlin circa 1945. Whether it is a love story that takes place across enemy lines with D-Day looming on the horizon or a story of cruelty and resilience en route to a presumed extermination camp, uniforms, vehicles, and villains all come readily to mind. The more conventional these tropes become, the more lackluster and...

    (pp. 65-95)

    Telling stories of globe-trotting Latin Americans and their (mis) adventures is a trend in the work of Roberto Bolaño and his contemporaries. This certainly reflects a surge in international travel that is due to many factors. In comparison to previous decades, air transportation is less expensive, broadening the base of travelers; as democratic rule becomes the norm and military dictatorship the exception, political persecution becomes a less pressing reason to venture overseas; mass migration, fueled by economic inequality, continues to grow. As Zygmunt Bauman adroitly puts it, the Janus-face of globalization features a wandering tourist on one side and an...

  7. 3 ALL THE WORLD’S A SUPERMARKET (And All the Men and Women Merely Shoppers)
    (pp. 96-125)

    If there is any historically configured space that presents globalization as a lived experience, it is the supermarket. Historicizing its very quotidianness affords us a rare opportunity of regarding capitalism as an ideology rather than a natural state of affairs. Indeed, supermarkets have some of the qualities that arcades had for Benjamin in that, shown under a certain light, they may reveal the affective life of capitalism and its hold on our imagination. The predominant form of globality today—our understanding of the world as a whole—is shaped by the recent consolidation of a world market, most noticeably after...

    (pp. 126-156)

    Narcotrafficking is one of the most revisited transnational phenomena in contemporary Latin American fiction. One may compare it to the prevalence of espionage and related themes during the Cold War. With hindsight, it is easy to appreciate how spy novels from that period simplified geopolitics to the fight of good versus evil and reinforced a vision of the world as dominated by two poles—the United States and the Soviet Union, each with its “allies.” The ideological blueprint for spy novels is plain to see: the very name of the organization “SPECTRE,” which Ian Fleming’s James Bond is up against,...

    (pp. 157-188)

    The appeal of contemporary art is strong in present-day Latin American literature. Manifestations of this phenomenon range from conventional storytelling that takes art as its topic to practices that integrate performance and the written word. Among the former, one could count the perverse exhibition narrated in Roberto Bolaño’sDistant Star (Estrella distante, 1996; trans., 2004), where a torturer exhibits photographs of his victims, or the performance from the author’sNazi Literature in the Americas, analyzed in chapter 1, where a military pilot traces ominous verses in the sky above the Atacama Desert. An example of a more radically symbiotic supratextual...

  10. CONCLUSION: The Promise of Multipolarism
    (pp. 189-222)

    No single study should aspire to analyze every aspect of contemporary literature’s attempts to represent the totality of the world or the intensified interconnection of globalization. My modest contribution began with the two, connected premises that, on the one hand, the world obviously does not “fit” into a book and, on the other, the transformation of the global order that has taken place roughly since 1989 is qualitatively different from what came before. The first premise led to a valuation of the maladjustment between the world and the work—a call to explore the negativity of this relationship. The second...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 223-254)
    (pp. 255-272)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 273-284)