Who said literature has no real power to affect history? Not Bolaño — for him, literature is an unnervingly protean, amoral force with uncanny powers of self-invention, self-justification and self-mythification. The mythmakers, he suggests, certainly do matter.
Ludwig also provides a brief, quite brilliant exposition and critique of the concept of an "authentic" self, noting that it is rooted in a male Victorian ethos and that it has been overshadowed by the more contemporary American notion of self-invention. Ludwig's beautifully written and intellectually provocative book is one of those rare works that offer fresh, profound insights, moving the reader to think probingly about his or her own life and self.arnold m. ludwig