- Mexican Manifesto
- Roberto Bolano
- New Yorker Magazine, New York, April 22, 2013
This story is the most recent of Bolano’s posthumously discovered works to be translated into English. It is a strange tale of a couple who frequent the bathhouses of Mexico City. The narrator of Mexican Manifesto, along with his female companion, prefer one of the seediest bathhouses in the city, where they wind up having an disturbing encounter with an old man and two boys.
Even the artwork, showing, through the steam, a tangle of legs and bodies from between somebody’s arms, is somewhat unsettling.
A critic from the blog New Yorker Story Critiques said, “It doesn’t take long to figure out that the whole story is a sauna. And a dream. Not quite a wet dream, but a moist one. We follow the slack thread of motivations from one scene to the next, unsure where (or if) it leads anywhere, emerging at the end with our pores cleared but our minds still fogged.”
This magazine is in brand new condition, having just recently been published. But these new New Yorkers are nowhere near as sturdy as the vintage ones I have showcased in previous posts. The covers are made of the same thin paper as the interior pages, so tearing and crumpling of the covers is likely over time, unless the magazine is well protected.
This edition is a double-sized magazine with a half cover overlapping the full front cover. I had to go to a few stores to find an issue that wasn’t torn where the half cover overlaps at the top of the full cover, so be careful when purchasing, especially on-line.
It is hard to say whether this issue will increase much in value over time. Mexican Manifesto may be of interest mainly to Bolano completionists. While it may not be Bolano’s tightest work — after all, Bolano probably never meant for it to see the light of day — it does, however, give us another haunting look into the mind of one of the most powerful imaginations of his time.
Mexican Manifesto was apparently found buried in Bolano’s computer files, and who knows how many more little gems are left…