Toward the end of that intellectual murder mystery , several characters try to locate a brilliant writer who has been missing for years, “Benno von Archimboldi” (a spelling used sometimes). Paintings are referred to in several crucial passages of the novel. Bolaño borrows Arcimboldo’s thought pattern: He makes each element in the narrative ordinary and carefully observed but combines them in an ominous, unsettling way. Characters are shaped as familiar national stereotypes, then placed where they don’t belong — like vegetables in a portrait.
— from an article on Giuseppe Arcimboldo by Robert Fulford, in the National Post's book blog The Afterword.