17 ene. 2009


*Bolaño. El gaucho insufrible. 2003. 177 pp.

This is a posthumous book of short stories (and two strange lecture), published in the year of RB's death. The best story here is "El policía de las ratas," narrated by a rat-policeman, with Kafkaesque implications. (The police-rat's aunt is named Josephine, as in Kafka's story of Josephine, the rodent singer.) As Pepe, the police-rat, investigates a series of cases, he begins to suspect that the killer is another rat--which means that rats can kill other rats. This is a disturbing conclusion, since the idea is that only other animals kill them (humans, cats, weasels, snakes...). What does this mean for the future of the species?

The title story is also good: a prosperous Buenos Aires lawyer decides to go live on his property in the Argentine pampa, and little by little becomes an "insufferable gaucho." The intertext here is Borges's story "El sur." This is Argentine mythology turned to farce. The pampa is inhabited by rabbits rather than horses and cattle. The only way to live is by trapping rabbits, eating them and selling their skins.