"Metaphors are our way of losing ourselves in semblances or treading water in a sea of seeming. In that sense a metaphor is like a life jacket. And remember, there are life jackets that float and others that sink to the bottom like lead. Best not to forget it." (Roberto Bolaño, 2666)
I keep 2666 and Almanac of the Dead side by side. One book reads the future, while the other "is reading your mind as you read it." Both are required, both ugly and honest, both unafraid of being nothing you think they should be.
2666 is one of Escher's impossible worlds—completely grounded in our reality—a world of the Spanish baroque attempting to lay itself over the Sierra Madre. Fractals. Chaos. Water. Death. The immigrant (Europe) and the indigenous. Bolaño sets everything down in detail, the details shift mid sentence and he follows their lead. They leave the page as you turn it. You close the book, but already the book has gotten inside, these details, they made their way from his mind into yours. You read. You read more. There is always another page, while you are turning.
The plot is already a given: Fractals. Chaos. Water. Death. The immigrant (Europe) and the indigenous. Bolaño makes no sacrifice, and no concession. His translator, Natasha Wimmer, discusses the book beautifully, saying it is part "hard-boiled crime fiction to post-modern horror." I read in it an exacting chronicle of migration and survival. 2666's size, organization and form, its multiple languages and perspectives, speak directly to me, of very concrete insanities: the colonization of peoples and landscapes. Prison. The Academy. The Archive. The Morgue.
What about the title: Is it about the crimes, the fates, or about the time set somewhere in the no longer distanct future?
Bolaño follows his words above, "But really, there's just one star and that star isn't semblance, it isn't metaphor, it doesn't come from any dream or any nightmare. We have it right outside. It's the sun." (2666)
Life or Honor: Life As Stranger is my addition to 2666 and the Almanac, my inventory of souls, my transformation of exterminated thinking and severed connections. The work is my own impossible world grounded in a lived experience of disappeared people. Everyone wants to leave a trace—this day and tomorrow. The morgue is filled with unclaimed bodies, baptismal registers with dead souls—both books (Bolaño's and Silko's have their television psychics), the prophets of mine are yet unknown.
Bolaño Reward: Karma Positive + Access to Kickstarter Exclusive Updates + Handwritten postcard thank you from author + E-copy of book + 4" x 6" Original art created from novel (Kickstarter Exclusive) + An exchange of 2 letters between you & visual artist, Niki Lee + An exchange of 5 letters between you & author + Interactive blog interview + Acknowledgement listed out with your name in the book. (All shapes the book takes over its life - your name will be on it).