A Little Lumpen Novelita, Roberto Bolaño

The first-person narrative does not let us see behind the external impression. The facts just happen and the heroine lives her life as an observer. People just pass. Emotions are unexpressed. The light never ends, the darkness promising a chance for breather is coming slow.

Teenage Bianca and her brother are orphaned when their parents are killed in a car accident. The accident is followed by a numbness, an unexplained sadness and an infinite loneliness. Emotions die away, so as not to break out. They do not manage to gush, no matter how much the heroine desperately looks for them in the bought arms of “Masista”.

The title of the novel seems ironic in terms of content or it confirms the content ironically. What does a lumpen do? According to Marx, the Lumpen proletariat is the part of the proletariat which, due to its complete impoverishment, is on the margins of society and has not developed a class consciousness. Is Bianca’s problem, then, that she has no class consciousness?

The future is not the future, the present is not the present, love is not love, the self is not the self. Crime is not a crime. Who is Bianca? How can she be revealed? Through a quiz at the hair salon. Through what she does not say and what she does not do. Through what she does not dare to dream and for what she cannot be ashamed of.

Bianca lost it all and she seems to not remember if she ever had anything. She prefers to be a criminal. The thread that connects the mother that she is now to the criminal that she used to be is cut. The crime against herself has been committed.

Anastasia Karavasieliou

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