I think we may have to go ahead and take the leap: Bolaño is a metaphysician. There, I’ve said it. I feel a little better. Bolaño dares to speculate about time. He has time on the brain. That’s a dangerous place to put your time, as the famous quote from Augustine long ago reminded us. Best just to experience your time, let it flow. Once you start thinking about it, the problems pile up. But that is the central problem for all Romantics, time and thinking. Reading through Antwerp again I’m struck by how much it is a novel of youth. That’s not to say it is a young book, but that it is interested in the idea of youth. Much like the poet Leopardi, Bolaño took little comfort in his youth. He was too busy feeling old. He was too busy watching each moment of his youth flittering away into the void of time. Poor Romantics, they don’t even get to have their own experiences, for the simple reason that they are already watching them.
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