Friday, March 03, 2006


Do you know anything about Marxism? asked Mr Etah, after wiping his lips with a serviette. A bit, yes, but only out of intellectual curiousity, I said. I mean, I'm not in the least sympathetic to the doctrine, ask anyone. But do you know about it or not? A little bit, I said, feeling increasingly nervous. Do you have any books about Marxism in your library? asked Mr Etah. Heavens, it's not my library, it belongs to the community, there might be something, but only for reference, to be used as a source for philosophical essays aiming precisely to refute Marxism. But you've got your own library, haven't you, Fr Urrutia, your own personal, private library so to speak, some books are kept here in the college and others in your house, or your mother's house, isn't that right? Yes, that's right, I murmured. And in your private library are there or are there not books about Marxism? asked Mr Etah. Please answer yes or no, Mr Raef implored me. Yes, I said. So could we say that you know something about or perhaps more than something about Marxism? asked Mr Etah fixing me with his penetrating gaze. I looked to Mr Raef for help. He made a face I couldn't interpret. I don't know what to say, I said. Say something, said Mr Raef. You know me, I'm not a Marxist, I said. But are you familiar or not with, shall we say, the fundamentals of Marxism? asked Mr Etah. Well, who isn't? I said. So what you're saying is that it's not very hard to learn, said Mr Etah. No, it's not very hard, I said, trembling from head to toe and feeling more than ever as if it were all a dream.
Roberto Bolano, By Night in Chile, 86-87.


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