What's the Point

They learned that a book was a labyrinth, and a desert. That there was nothing more important than ceaseless reading and traveling, perhaps one in the same thing. That when books were read, writers were released from the souls of stones (which is where they went to live after they died) and they moved into the souls of readers as if into a soft prison cell—a cell that later swelled or burst. That all writing systems are frauds. That true poetry resides between the abyss and misfortune ... That the main lesson of literature was courage, a rare courage like a stone well in the middle of a lake district, like a whirlwind, and a mirror. That reading wasn't more comfortable than writing. That by reading, one learned to question and remember. That memory was love.

—Roberto BolaƱo, Woes of the True Policeman

back to issue





Infrequently asked questions