I’m not generally a huge fan of short stories, for some reason–they’re harder to do properly; with so little space it seems as though authors sometimes have trouble saying everything that needs to be said. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And ugh, again with the gushing. Bolaño makes it work. The short stories contained within Last Evenings on Earth are thematically linked: most are about artists, most on some kind of failed quest. As with many of his other works, characters that appear there occasionally crop up; for example The Savage Detectives’ Arturo Belano makes several appearances. The stories have the dark humor and sense of muddling along that characterizes most of his work. As a cohesive grouping, they work very well, but each story is also entertaining on its own.