Bolaño’s writing is at ease in settings full of drug dealers, whores, artists, and poets. Petty criminals and creative types mix over marijuana, sex, and alcohol, all with a dream in mind, whether attainable or not.
In Prefiguration of Lalo Cura, the reader is introduced to Lalo Cura who matter-of-factly states “I’ve had people killed. I’ve given the best birthday presents. I’ve backed projects of epic proportions. I’ve opened my eyes in the dark. Once, I opened them by slow degrees in total darkness, and all I saw or imagined was that name: Los Empalados, shining like the star of destiny.”
Lalo is the bastard son of a “renegade priest” and a prostitute who becomes a low-budget porn actress. The cast of people involved in making the porn films serves as a surrogate family for Lalo while he grows up. In typical Bolaño fashion, names of minor characters and brief histories fill the pages. Are these necessary? Perhaps in that they serve an example for Lalo’s own future.
At times, this story reminded me of the imagined filmography in David Foster Wallace’s novel, Infinite Jest, as four movies are discussed and what the director’s motivations might have been for shooting the non-traditional pornography. Imagine Alejandro Jodorowsky creating porn backed by a criminal cartel.
While not a great short story, Bolaño transports his readers into surroundings that are sordid, dense, and with little chance for escape. For that reason, this story is worth checking out.
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>I found this page while searching for reviews of the story. I just finished it. It's my first Bolano piece, and I have to say that I'm not impressed. If his work largly focuses on details of the minor characters, I'm not sure I'll find it as riveting as many writers do.
>I struggled to make it through the Savage Detectives. While Bolaño pushes fiction in some interesting directions, his writing isn't captivating or compelling. In that regard, it falls short.