REVIEW In the English-speaking press, Roberto Bolaño is widely touted as the hottest novelist to come out of Latin America since Gabriel García Márquez. There are no levitating virgins in the work of Bolaño; he depicts instead a more recognizable if still defamiliarized Western Hemisphere, full of intellectuals, tragic activists, poets, queers, prostitutes, and drug dealers. And Nazis.
Although Bolaño died in 2003, his death hasn't slowed the rise of his reputation; he is posthumously leading the revolt of a generation of writers and readers who were crushed under the weight of Latin America's major literary exports, the Boom writers. Bolaño's idiosyncratic style isn't magical realist or sentimental about folk traditions, but he isn't exactly a realist either. Nazi Literature in the Americas (New Directions, 280 pages, $23.95), newly translated into English by Chris Andrews, follows the path of Jorge Luis Borges.