I left out about half of what I wanted to write about Infante yesterday, and now though the depth of the shadow he has placed across my life has not diminished, the urgency of the obituary is fading. I would, however, like to point you toward Babalu's excellent and touching reminiscence (with Andy Garcia's equally heartfelt reminiscences), and Venepoetics talks about how he came to Infante, and how it changed his life.
Perhaps more than Joyce, Infante set me up for a lifelong affair with words, and how they fit together and sound and smell and play and work. It was pure chance that I came across him first, instead of Borges or Burroughs or Beckett. I found all those and lots more soon enough, and Three Trapped Tigers wasn't even the first Latin novel I ever read -- that was The Death of Artemio Cruz, which I picked up for free at a library closing and inhaled like a like a post-virginity cigarette -- but TTT was the kind of experience that stays in Vegas and sends you postcards every month or two for the rest of your life that never, ever fail to work you right back up, no matter where you are or what's happening in your life.
It's no small part of why I'm still tilting at literature now, as I dust the last shards of adolescence off my jacket and pull back out on to the highway.
My heroes are dropping this week. There's a hole I need to fill. Excuse me.