Roberto Bolaño Ávalos, the late novelist and poet, was born on this day in 1953.
Much has been written about this enigmatic writer who was born in Chile, lived in Mexico and then moved to Spain.
Mónica Maristain, a journalist and friend of Bolaño writes about him in her book "El Hijo de Mister Playa, Una Semblanza de Roberto Bolaño."
I saw Maristain discuss her book last fall in Guadalajara, Mexico, at the Feria Internacional del Libro, or the FIL, the largest book fair in Latin America.
The fictions about this writer are dispelled in the book by Maristain, who who was the last journalist to interview him before he died.
Her article was published in Spanish in Mexican Playboy in 2003 and in 2009 she published a short book in English "Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview."
But her new book, published in October 2012 by Almadía press, goes deeper into his life and influences. Unfortunately it is not yet available in English.
Chapter subheads read: "The Influence of Kurt Vonnegut," "Continuity with Magical Realism," and "Robert was never a drug addict!"
Maristain told a story of how one time Bolaño fooled a friend into thinking he killed a skinhead. She also noted that despite what many think Bolaño did not drink. He did smoke cigarettes and he had a liver ailment, she said.
She spoke of his importance as a writer and how he moved Latin American writers into the future.
"For me, Bolaño is the new Borges," Maristain said. "His work will survive everything."