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By Roberto Bolaño

Amulet is a monologue, like Bolano's acclaimed debut in English, By evening in Chile. The speaker is Auxilio Lacouture, a Uruguayan girl who moved to Mexico within the Sixties, turning into the "Mother of Mexican Poetry," putting out with the younger poets within the cafés and bars of the collage. She's tall, skinny, and blonde, and her favourite younger poet within the Seventies is none except Arturo Belano (Bolano's fictional stand-in all through his books).

As good as her younger poets, Auxilio remembers 3 striking girls: the melancholic younger thinker Elena, the exiled Catalan painter Remedios Varo, and Lilian Serpas, a poet who as soon as slept with Che Guevara. And during her imaginary stopover at to the home of Remedios Varo, Auxilio sees an uncanny panorama, a type of chasm. This chasm reappears in a imaginative and prescient on the finish of the booklet: a military of youngsters is marching towards it, making a song as they cross. the kids are the idealistic younger Latin americans who got here to adulthood within the '70s, and the final phrases of the radical are: "And that music is our amulet."

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34 Between these extreme views on the relationship between the two worlds is the uncomfortable middle ground, which is that language in fiction occupies the no-man's land between signification and pure self-referential significance. " 35 In the best postrealist fiction, this is a dynamic antagonism that is both thematically and stylistically prominent, but once again, the fact that the external world is by no means eradicated by the completion of the verbal world limits the self-sufficiency of the text.

Copyright © 1976 by Partisan Review. Reprinted by permission of Partisan Review and Ronald Sukenick. From "Twelve Digressions Toward a Study of Composition," by Ronald Sukenick, in New Literary History, 6 (1975). Copyright © 1975 by The Johns Hopkins Univer- Page xviii sity Press. Reprinted by permission of The Johns Hopkins University Press. From "Introduction to the Series," by Lee Thayer, in The Broken Word: The Communication Pathos in Modern Literature, by Winston Weathers. Copyright © 1981 by Gordon and Breach, Inc.

30 Seen from this viewpoint, art succumbs to the same doubts and relativism that have affected other systems: the innovative novel is as symptomatic of the disrupted state of affairs in today's world as are any of the other disqualified systems for which it hopes to substitute. Since the novel is instigated with an attitude of skepticism and scorn toward the outside world, we can hardly expect absolute faith in any system, even a private, self-imposed one, to be easily sustained. The artist's admission that his vision is subjective, that it does not confront external reality, and that its foremost aim is to advance itself and not to explicate some overriding Truth "out there" ironically undercuts the "nobility" of his commitment.

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