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Roberto Bolaño's FictionAn Expanding Universe$
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Chris Andrews

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231168069

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231168069.001.0001

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Evil Agencies

Evil Agencies

Chapter:
(p.149) 6 Evil Agencies
Source:
Roberto Bolaño's Fiction
Author(s):

Chris Andrews

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231168069.003.0006

This chapter discusses the four kinds of characters that create conflict in Bolaño’s fiction: the accomplice, the dictator, the sociopath, and the administrator—individuals driven to not only dominate, but also to destroy the lives of others. The dictator Pinochet (By Night in Chile) and the sociopath Wieder (Distant Star) are portrayed from a distance, in satirical and fantastic modes respectively. The administrator Sammer (2666) and the accomplice Urrutia Lacroix (By Night in Chile) draw the reader into their mental worlds, but fail to justify what they have done. Bolaño’s work presents an anatomy of evil, distinguishing its varieties and showing how they can interact “symbiotically” to produce atrocities. Yet this naturalistic anatomizing does not fully explain the phenomenon. For reasons that relate both to practicalities in his represented worlds and to narrative technique, there is a secret of evil in his writing that must remain a secret.

Keywords:   secret of evil, anatomy of evil, Pinochet, Wieder, Sammer, Urrutia Lacroix

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