In Bolano, literature is a helpless, undignified, and not especially pleasant compulsion, like smoking. At one point you started and now you can't stop; it's become a habit and an identity. Nothing is so consistent across Bolano's work as the suspicion that literature is chiefly bullshit, rationalizing the misery, delusions, and/or narcissism of various careerists, flakes and losers. Yet Bolano somehow also treats literature as his and characters' sole excuse for exisitng. This basic Bolano aporia - literature is all that matters, literature doesn't matter at all - can be a glib paradox for others. He seems to have meant it sincerely, even desperately, something one would feel without knowing the irst thing about his life.