Nazi Literature In The Americas, By Roberto Bolaño

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The Independent Culture

Don't worry if you have never heard of Juan Mendiluce Thompson's novel The Egoists, with its London detective and his "passion for spiritualism". Or of JMS Hill's American Civil War saga The World of Snakes. Or of the football-crazy Schiaffino brothers of Argentina; Italo wrote poems on Boca Juniors stars and died of cardiac arrest at news of the Falklands defeat...

In this brilliant post-Borges fantasia (translated by Chris Andrews), Bolaño concocts 30 spoof lives of authors. All these phantoms reflect the real feuds and tumults of their age. Behind the sparkling humour, his conceit of a "Fourth Reich" legacy in Latin America hints at a burden of tyranny and hierarchy that the continent's culture has not yet shaken off.