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Who was Roberto Bolaño?

1. THE FIRST PUBLIC EXHIBITION of the papers and personal effects of the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño is the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) exhibit “Bolaño Archive. 1977–2003,” the result of the Centre’s partnership with Bolaño’s widow, Carolina López, who along with her two children, Lautaro and Alexandra, constitute Bolaño’s heirs. The intensity of Bolaño’s posthumous fame — his second life as a cult literary idol — must be both mesmerizing and repellant to López, who for over two decades was the partner of an author for whom recognition was elusive. In the years since Bolaño’s passing, López has only rarely spoken to the press, primarily to dispel rumors. The exhibition, which will close just weeks before the 10th anniversary of Bolaño’s early death from liver failure, is not only an unprecedented point of access to his creative process but also a unique opportunity to investigate Bolaño himself: not the winsome headshot on the back jacket, not the collective dream of his admirers, but Bolaño the immigrant, the worker, the father, the artist, the man.

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