First question for Canelli: is Archimboldi an alter-ego of Bolaño’s? Is Bolaño using Archimboldi as a way of self-critizing? Note pages 27-28:
Then they went back to talking about Archimboldi and Mrs. Bubis showed them a very odd review that had appeared in a Berlin newspaper after the publication of Lüdicke, Archimboldi’s first novel. The review, by someone names Schleiermacher, tried to sum up the novelist’s personality in a few words.
Storytelling ability: chaotic.
German usage: chaotic.
Average intelligence and sloppy scholarship are easy to understand. What did he mean by epileptic character, though? that Archimboldi had epilepsy? that he wasn’t right in the head? that he suffered attacks of a mysterious nature? that he was a compulsive reader of Dostoevsky? There was no physical description of the writer in the piece.
“We never knew who this man Schleiermacher was,” said Mrs. Bubis, “and sometimes my late husband would joke that Archimboldi himself had written the review. But he knew as well as I did that it wasn’t true.”
Second question for Canelli: is it just me or is most of what we’ve read so far (up to page 53) told not as author telling us the story directly but rather the author telling us the story of the characters telling a story? Like, it feels to me that most of what’s happening is coming to the reader second-hand, through the fog of unreliable characters. Canelli, what say you on this?