“He Brought Utopia and Faith”
The Catalan resort town of Blanes, Spain, last summer commemorated the tenth anniversary of Roberto Bolaño’s death with “Homenatge: Bolaño a Blanes,” a three-month series of memorial events emphasizing the Chilean author’s connection with the city, where he spent the last two decades of his life. The Homenatge included the “Nocturn de Bolaño,” during which more than twenty locals read excerpts from his work with occasional jazz interludes; several lectures and roundtables; and the unveiling of a self-guided walking tour of Blanes, the Ruta Bolaño.
Handsome red-and-black plaques now mark important Bolaño sites in Blanes. They range from the deeply intimate—the progression of homes and studios Bolaño occupied; Videoclub Serra, the video store owned by his close friend Narcís Serra; the pharmacy where he collected the medication for his afflicted liver—to sites of literary relevance, like Joker Jocs, the shop where Bolaño purchased the strategy games so compellingly fictionalized in The Third Reich, and the seaside streets that inspired the setting of The Skating Rink.
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