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By Roberto Bolaño

A journey de strength, Amulet is a hugely charged first-person, semi-hallucinatory novel that embodies in a single woman's voice the depression and violent contemporary background of Latin America.Amulet is a monologue, like Bola?o's acclaimed debut in English, through evening in Chile. The speaker is Auxilio Lacouture, a Uruguayan lady who moved to Mexico within the Sixties, changing into the "Mother of Mexican Poetry," striking out with the younger poets within the caf?s and bars of the collage. She's tall, skinny, and blonde, and her favourite younger poet within the Seventies is none except Arturo Belano (Bola?o's fictional stand-in all through his books). in addition to her younger poets, Auxilio recollects 3 awesome ladies: 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 kids is marching towards it, making a song as they pass. the youngsters 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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I spent my days at the faculty, busy as a bee or, to be more precise, a cicada, coming and going in and out of the little offices, keeping up with all the gossip, all the affairs and divorces, keeping up with all the tragedies. Like the tragedy of Professor Miguel López Azcárate, whose wife left him, and who couldn't bear the pain; I knew all about it, the secretaries told me. One day in a corridor I joined a group discussing some aspect of Ovid's poetry; the poet Bonifaz Nuño was there, I think, Monterroso too, perhaps, and two or three young poets.

That afternoon of 1971 or 1972. And the strangest thing is that I remember it prospectively, from 1968. From my watchtower, my bloody subway carriage, from my gigantic rainy day. From the women's bathroom on the fourth floor of the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature, the timeship from which I can observe the entire life and times of Auxilio Lacouture, such as they are. a sort of noise, wind or breath, blowing up through the foundations of the café at irregular intervals. And so the minutes went by, with Arturito and Paolo talking about theater, Elena sitting quietly, and me turning my head from time to time, attentive to the receding sounds of what, by then, was undermining not only the Principio de Mexico but the whole city, as if I were being warned a few years in advance or a few centuries too late about the fate of Latin American theater, the double nature of silence, and the collective catastrophe of which improbable sounds are often harbingers.

Why? Well, basically because she was brought up, like me, to be polite in all circumstances. She stands there quietly or perhaps takes a few steps and asks if anyone is there and of course no one replies. I felt like that woman, although I don't know if I realized it at the time or if I'm only realizing it now, and, like her, I took a few steps as if I were walking on an enormous expanse of ice. Then I washed my hands, looked at myself in the mirror, saw a tall thin figure with a face that was already showing a few wrinkles, too many, a female Don Quixote as Pedro Garfias called me, and then I went out into the corridor, and there I realized right away that something was going on: the corridor was empty, nothing but faded shades of cream, and up the stairwell came a sound of shouting, a petrifying, history-making sound.

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