Last Evenings on Earth by Roberto Bolano

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In Roberto Bolano’s collection of short stories called Last Evenings on Earth and in the short novella Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya, both Bolano and Moya demonstrate implausible situations, horror, and violence throughout their stories. In Last Evenings on Earth, Bolano divides his stories into those that are recollections of a writer’s days or the accounts of a writer named ‘B’. These short stories explore the question of what it means to be an individual devoting one’s life to artistic expression. In Horacio Castellanos Moya’s Senselessness, he writes about a fugitive writer who takes on the job of copy-editing testimonies from survivors and witnesses of the massacres in Guatemala for the Catholic Church. In Moya’s novel, he uses the main character to explore the question of censorship within artistic expression and within life itself. Both Bolano and Moya express horror, violence and implausible situations with the focus on poetry itself. In Bolano, it’s a reoccurring theme in which his characters are either poets themselves or express their love for poetry in the situations they are put into. In Moya, poetry becomes the obsession of the main character as he obsesses over the testimonies and the voices of the victims. Bolano and Moya both define a vision of what it means to live in the present through the focus on the senselessness of life itself as well as the expression of art. Bolano and Moya delve into the theme of senselessness through the lives of the characters they map out. In Bolano’s short story Gomez Palacio, Bolano does not name the main character itself but instead focuses upon the situation that the character is put into. The main character takes a job teaching a writing workshop at a “god-forsaken” ... ... middle of paper ... ...its and contextualizes each one, almost creating a contradiction as the beautiful prose becomes limited and constrained under the watchful eyes of the Church itself. It is the senselessness of life itself that inexplicably changes the art creating a contradiction within itself as the art describes the senselessness of life and violence experienced by the victims. Moya and Bolano reach the conclusion that life itself is senseless; there is no explanation or way to plan out life. Instead one must aim to live in the present and to free oneself with the usage of art. It is within art that one can truly be free from the limits of society. In Bolano, it is the focus on the situations that the characters are put into that we see the senselessness of life itself. In Gomez Palacio it is the senselessness of a specific phenomenon of a green light in the middle of a desert.

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