Confusing and/or Wonderful Phrases

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DataTater

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Jan 14, 2010, 7:52:30 PM1/14/10
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I made the topic name vague enough that we can keep using it when
these things come up - rather than make it specific to my comments at
this time.

There shouldn't be anything spoiled by these since they are pretty non-
plot-related, but I want to talk about them and I can't wait until the
25th.

Confusing: p49 - Does anyone understand why the ex-mug-making London
bum who talks to Morini in the park's mug company made a mug with
"Last Round Today, Last Round Forever" on it? I don't get it - I've
said it over and over to myself, and I don't GET it. Help!

Wonderful: p54 - This is my favorite turn of phrase so far, on why
not to pry when you notice someone is upset: "... rarely anything
soothing about being pestered with questions..."

(page numbers refer to the single paperback volume)

Scott Y.

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Jan 14, 2010, 8:47:44 PM1/14/10
to bola...@googlegroups.com
On Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 7:52 PM, DataTater <data...@gmail.com> wrote:
I made the topic name vague enough that we can keep using it when
these things come up - rather than make it specific to my comments at
this time.

There shouldn't be anything spoiled by these since they are pretty non-
plot-related, but I want to talk about them and I can't wait until the
25th.

Confusing:  p49 - Does anyone understand why the ex-mug-making London
bum who talks to Morini in the park's mug company made a mug with
"Last Round Today, Last Round Forever" on it? I don't get it - I've
said it over and over to myself, and I don't GET it. Help!

>>So is this the part where we fess up to reading ahead? Ok. I fess up.

 I can't figure out what this means either except it's a little play on your last drink of coffee or whatever. Being that could be your daily use mug and it's never your last round there is a joke in there somewhere. In the world of mug jokes that may be a   funny one.

This London bum is an interesting character. His story reminds me of Radiohead's Fake Plastic Trees:
"And it wears him out, it wears him out
It wears him out, it wears him out"

This bum, like the surgeon in the song, seems worn out by something he used to think had some dignity, "the bloody mugs didn't bother me before and now they're destroying me inside."



Andrew Haley

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Jan 14, 2010, 8:53:36 PM1/14/10
to bola...@googlegroups.com
um... last round like round of drinks? this is your last round of drinks today, and for ever, cause you're quitting today... except that's an ironic alcoholic joke cause you're not going to quit and the phrase is on a beer glass.

ReadingTPA

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Jan 17, 2010, 6:40:43 PM1/17/10
to bolano-l
pg. 9 -
I see Liz Norton's reaction to reading Archimboldi's 'Bitzius' quoted
in reviews, etc. as an example of the great writing in 2666, and I
agree it is:
"It was raining in the quadrangle, and the quadrangular sky looked
like a grimace of a robot or a god made in our own likeness. The
oblique drops of rain slid down the blades of grass in the park, but
it would have made no difference if they had slid up. Then the oblique
(drops) turned round (drops), swallowed up by the earth underpinning
the grass, and the grass and the earth seemed to talk, no, not talk,
argue, their comprehensible words like crystallized spiderwebs or the
briefest crystallized vomitings, a barely audible rustling, as if
instead of drinking tea that afternoon, Norton had drunk a steaming
cup of peyote."

The paragraph after this maybe doesn't get as much attention, but it's
worth a second read (or third):
"But the truth is, she only had tea to drink and she felt overwhelmed,
as if a voice were repeating a terrible prayer in her ear, the words
of which blurred as she walked away from the college and the rain
wetted her gray skirt and bony knees and pretty ankles and little
else, because before Liz Norton went running through the park, she
hadn't forgotten to pick up her umbrella."

JayCruz

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Jan 18, 2010, 10:01:55 AM1/18/10
to bolano-l
In the original spanish version the part about the London bum is at
page 72. The phrase says, "La ultima del dia o de la vida", which can
be literally translated as "Last one of the day or of your life".
There's really nothing to get. It's just a bad joke with a bad pun.
Though the story the bum is telling is kind of funny in an absurdist
way. When the mug-making company changes the phrases to less "cheesy"
jokes, make them more erotic, and add drawings to them, the bum gets
depressed by them and ends up quitting the job.

susan zenger

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Jan 18, 2010, 2:18:07 PM1/18/10
to bola...@googlegroups.com
Just out of curiosity, what IS TPA?
 
Susan Zenger
 
> Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 15:40:43 -0800
> Subject: [bolano-l] Re: Confusing and/or Wonderful Phrases
> From: syt...@gmail.com
> To: bola...@googlegroups.com

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Andrew Haley

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Jan 19, 2010, 12:51:07 PM1/19/10
to bola...@googlegroups.com
i LOVE that bit about the robot or a god made in our own likeness... the whole bit that you quote...

the genius of roberto bolaño:

his ideas -- the inversion of man made in god's likeness; the implied equation of god to a robot; the drops flowing up; etc 

his sentences -- even in english you can hear the marvelous and truly beautiful cadence of the spanish original. there is a bolañesco sentence, as much as there is a joycean or borgesian or cortazarian  or hemingwayan or dostoevskian or melvillian sentence. they are where the rupture happens between pat fiction and poetry.
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