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Roberto Bolano biography

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Roberto Bolano

Roberto Bolano

How to pronounce Roberto Bolano: roh-bAIR-toh bo-LAR-neo

Roberto Bolano Biography

Roberto Bolaño was born in Chile on April 28, 1953.  For much of his life he lived a nomadic existence, living in Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, France and Spain. During the 1970s, he formed an avant-garde group called infrarealism with other writers and poets in Mexico where he lived after leaving Chile when it fell under military dictatorship. He returned to Chile in 1972 but left again the next year when General Augusto Pinochet came to power.

In the early eighties, he finally settled in the small town of Blanes, near Gerona in Northern Spain, where he died on July 15, 2003 of liver disease while awaiting a transplant.  He is survived by his Spanish wife and his son and daughter. 

Bolaño received some of the Hispanic world's highest literary awards, including the 1999 Romulo Gallegos Prize (Venezuelan) for his novel Los detectives salvajes, which was published in English as The Savage Detectives in 2007.

Six weeks before he died, his fellow Latin American novelists hailed him as the most important figure of his generation at an international conference he attended in Seville. In 2004 he was honored by the First Conference of Latin American Authors as "the most important literary discovery of our time."

He completed 12 novels during his life, published various poetry collections and left behind an almost completed 1,000 page novel,  2666, about the unsolved murders of 300 women in Mexico over the past 10 years.  2666 (1100 pages at publication) was published posthumously in 2004.  It has been translated into English by Natasha Wimmer, who also translated The Savage Detectives.



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Monsieur Pain jacket The Skating Rink jacket 2666 jacket Nazi Literature in the Americas jacket
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Read-Alikes

All the books below are recommended as read-alikes for Roberto Bolano but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose read-alikes

  • Paul Auster

    Paul Auster

    Paul Auster is the bestselling author of 4 3 2 1Sunset ParkThe Book of Illusions, Moon Palace, and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. In 2006, he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Savage Detectives

    Try:
    Invisible
    by Paul Auster

  • Anne-Laure Bondoux

    Anne-Laure Bondoux

    Anne-Laure Bondoux was born on April 23, 1971, in the region surrounding Paris, where she still lives today with her two children. She studied Modern Letters at the University of Paris X–Nanterre, and during her ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Savage Detectives

    Try:
    The Killer's Tears
    by Anne-Laure Bondoux

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