The Final Bolaño Novella.
"Now I am a mother and a married woman, but not long ago I led a life of crime": so Bianca begins her tale of growing up the hard way in Rome. Orphaned overnight as a teenager - "our parents died in a car crash on their first vacation without us" - she drops out of school, gets a crappy job, and drifts into bad company. Her little brother brings home two petty criminals who need a place to stay. As the four of them share the family apartment and plot a strange crime, Bianca learns how low she can fall.
Electric, tense with foreboding, and written in jagged, propulsive short chapters, delivers a surprising, fractured fable of seizing control of one's fate.
"The melancholy folklore of exile," as Roberto Bolaño once put it, pervades these fourteen haunting stories. Bolaño's narrators are usually writers grappling with private (and generally unlucky) quests, who typically speak in the first person, as if giving a deposition, like witnesses to a crime. These protagonists tend to take detours and to narrate unresolved efforts. They are characters living in the margins, often coming to pieces, and sometimes, as in a nightmare, in constant flight from something horrid.
In the short story , Bolaño writes in the opening sentence: "It's strange how things happen, Mauricio Silva, known as The Eye, always tried to escape violence, even at the risk of being considered a coward, but the violence, the real violence, can't be escaped, at least not by us, born in Latin America in the 1950s, those of us who were around 20 years old when Salvador Allende died."
Set in the Chilean exile diaspora of Latin America and Europe, and peopled by Bolano's beloved "failed generation," the stories of have appeared in and .
With the release of Roberto Bolaño’s in 1998,journalist Monica Maristain discovered a writer “capable of befriending his readers.” After exchanging several letters with Bolaño, Maristain formed a friendship of her own, culminating in an extensive interview with the novelist about truth and consequences, an interview that turned out to be Bolaño’s last.
Appearing for the first time in English, Bolaño’s final interview is accompanied by a collection of conversations with reporters stationed throughout Latin America, providing a rich context for the work of the writer who, according to essayist Marcela Valdes, is “a T.S. Eliot or Virginia Woolf of Latin American letters.” As in all of Bolaño’s work, there is also wide-ranging discussion of the author’s many literary influences. (Explanatory notes on authors and titles that may be unfamiliar to English-language readers are included here.)
The interviews, all of which were completed during the writing of the gigantic , also address Bolaño’s deepest personal concerns, from his domestic life and two young children to the realities of a fatal disease.
Opening this book is like being granted access to the Chilean master's personal files. Included in this one-of-a-kind collection is everything Roberto Bolaño was working on just before his death in 2003, and everything that he wanted to share with his readers. Fans of his writing will find familiar characters in new settings, and entirely new stories and styles, too.
A North American journalist in Paris is woken at 4 a.m. by a mysterious caller with urgent information. Daniela de Montecristo (familiar to readers of and ) recounts the loss of her virginity. Arturo Belano returns to Mexico City and meets the last disciples of Ulises Lima, who play in a band called The Asshole of Morelos. Belano’s son Gerónimo disappears in Berlin during the Days of Chaos in 2005. Memories of a return to the native land; Argentine writers as gangsters; zombie schlock as allegory… and much more.
As Pankaj Mishra remarked in The Nation, one of the remarkable qualities of Bolano's short stories is that they can do the "work of a novel." The Insufferable Gaucho contains tales bent on returning to haunt you. Unpredictable and daring, highly controlled yet somehow haywire, a Bolano story might concern an elusive plagiarist or an elderly lawyer giving up city life for an improbable return to the family estate, now gone to wrack and ruin. Bolano's stories have been applauded as "bleakly luminous and perfectly calibrated" (Publishers Weekly) and" complex and provocative" (International Herald Tribune), and as Francine Prose said in The New York Times Book Review, "something extraordinarily beautiful and (at least to me) entirely new." Two fascinating essays are also included.
Begun in the 1980s and worked on until the author’s death in 2003, is Roberto Bolaño’s last, unfinished novel.
The novel follows Óscar Amalfitano — an exiled Chilean university professor and widower — through the maze of his revolutionary past, his relationship with his teenage daughter, Rosa, his passion for a former student, and his retreat from scandal in Barcelona.
Forced to leave Barcelona for Santa Teresa, a Mexican city close to the U.S. border where women are being killed in unprecedented numbers, Amalfitano soon begins an affair with Castillo, a young forger of Larry Rivers paintings. Meanwhile, Rosa, Amalfitano’s daughter, engages in her own epistolary romance with a basketball player from Barcelona, while still trying to cope with her mother’s early death and her father’s secrets. After finding Castillo in bed with her father, Rosa is forced to confront her own crisis. What follows is an intimate police investigation of Amalfitano that involves a series of dark twists, culminating in a finale full of euphoria and heartbreak.
Featuring characters and stories from his other books, invites the reader more than ever into the world of Roberto Bolaño. It is an exciting, kaleidoscopic novel, lyrical and intense, yet darkly humorous. Exploring the roots of memory and the limits of art, marks the culmination of one of the great careers of world literature.
As Bolaño’s friend and literary executor, Ignacio Echevarría, once suggested, can be viewed as the Big Bang of Roberto Bolaño’s fictional universe. Reading this novel, the reader is present at the birth of Bolaño’s enterprise in prose: all the elements are here, highly compressed, at the moment when his talent explodes. From this springboard — which Bolaño chose to publish in 2002, twenty years after he’d written it (“and even that I can’t be certain of”) — as if testing out a high dive, he would plunge into the unexplored depths of the modern novel.
Antwerp’s fractured narration in 54 sections — voices from a dream, from a nightmare, from passers by, from an omniscient narrator, from “Roberto Bolaño” all speak — moves in multiple directions and cuts to the bone.
Paris, 1938. The Peruvian poet César Vallejo is in the hospital, afflicted with an undiagnosed illness, and unable to stop hiccuping. His wife calls on an acquaintance of her friend Madame Reynaud: the Mesmerist Pierre Pain. Pain, a timid bachelor, is in love with the widow Reynaud, and agrees to help. But two mysterious Spanish men follow Pain and bribe him not to treat Vallejo, and Pain takes the money. Ravaged by guilt and anxiety, however, he does not intend to abandon his new patient, but then Pain’s access to the hospital is barred and Madame Reynaud leaves Paris…. Another practioner of the occult sciences enters the story (working for Franco, using his Mesmeric expertise to interrogate prisoners) — as do Mme. Curie, tarot cards, an assassination, and nightmares. Meanwhile, Monsieur Pain, haunted and guilty, wanders the crepuscular, rainy streets of Paris…
Nazi Literature in the Americas was the first of Roberto Bolaño's books to reach a wide public. When it was published by Seix Barral in 1996, critics in Spain were quick to recognize the arrival of an important new talent. The book presents itself as a biographical dictionary of American writers who flirted with or espoused extreme right-wing ideologies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It is a tour de force of black humor and imaginary erudition.Nazi Literature in the Americas is composed of short biographies, including descriptions of the writers' works, plus an epilogue ("for Monsters"), which includes even briefer biographies of persons mentioned in passing. All of the writers are imaginary, although they are all carefully and credibly situated in real literary worlds. Ernesto Perez Mason, for example, in the sample included here, is an imaginary member of the real Oriacute;genes group in Cuba, and his farcical clashes with Joseacute; Lezama Lima recall stories about the spats between Lezama Lima and Virgilio Pintilde;era, as recounted in Guillermo Cabrera Infante's Mea Cuba. The origins of the imaginary writers are diverse. Authors from twelve different countries are included. The countries with the most representatives are Argentina and the USA.
Set in the seaside town of Z, on the Costa Brava, north of Barcelona, oscillates between two poles: a camp ground and a ruined mansion, the Palacio Benvingut. The story, told by three male narrators, revolves around a beautiful figure skating champion, Nuria Martí. When she is suddenly dropped from the Olympic team, a pompous but besotted civil servant secretly builds a skating rink in the ruined Palacio Benvingut, using public funds. But Nuria has affairs, provokes jealousy, and the skating rink becomes a crime scene. A mysterious pair of women, an ex-opera singer and a taciturn girl often armed with a knife, turn up as well.
A complex book, ’s short chapters are skillfully broken off with questions to maintain the narrative tension: All of these questions are answered, and yet is not fundamentally a crime novel, or not exclusively; it’s also about political corruption, sex, the experience of immigration, and frustrated passion. And it’s an atmospheric chronicle of one summer season in a seaside town, with its vacationers, its drifters, its businessmen, bureaucrats and social workers.
A deathbed confession revolving around Opus Dei and Pinochet, pours out the self-justifying dark memories of the Jesuit priest Father Urrutia.
As through a crack in the wall, ’s single night-long rant provides a terrifying, clandestine view of the strange bedfellows of Church and State in Chile. This wild, eerily compact novel—Roberto Bolano’s first work available in English—recounts the tale of a poor boy who wanted to be a poet, but ends up a half-hearted Jesuit priest and a conservative literary critic, a sort of lap dog to the rich and powerful cultural elite, in whose villas he encounters Pablo Neruda and Ernst Junger. Father Urrutia is offered a tour of Europe by agents of Opus Dei (to study “the disintegration of the churches,” a journey into realms of the surreal); and ensnared by this plum, he is next assigned—after the destruction of Allende—the secret, never-to-be-disclosed job of teaching Pinochet, at night, all about Marxism, so the junta generals can know their enemy. Soon, searingly, his memories go from bad to worse. Heart-stopping and hypnotic, marks the American debut of an astonishing writer.
On vacation with his girlfriend, Ingeborg, the German war games champion Udo Berger returns to a small town on the Costa Brava where he spent the summers of his childhood. Soon they meet another vacationing German couple, Charly and Hanna, who introduce them to a band of locals—the Wolf, the Lamb, and El Quemado—and to the darker side of life in a resort town.
Late one night, Charly disappears without a trace, and Udo’s well-ordered life is thrown into upheaval; while Ingeborg and Hanna return to their lives in Germany, he refuses to leave the hotel. Soon he and El Quemado are enmeshed in a round of Third Reich, Udo’s favorite World War II strategy game, and Udo discovers that the game’s consequences may be all too real.
Written in 1989 and found among Roberto Bolaño’s papers after his death, is a stunning exploration of memory and violence. Reading this quick, visceral novel, we see a world-class writer coming into his own—and exploring for the first time the themes that would define his masterpieces and .
“Bolaño writes with such elegance, verve and style and is immensely readable.”
“Readers who have snacked on a writer such as Haruki Murakami will feast on Roberto Bolaño.”
The late Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño has been called the García Marquez of his generation, but his novel The Savage Detectives is a lot closer to Y Tu Mamá También than it is to One Hundred Years of Solitude . Hilarious and sexy, meandering and melancholy, full of inside jokes about Latin American
literati that you don't have to understand to enjoy, The Savage Detectives is a companionable and complicated road trip through Mexico City, Barcelona, Israel, Liberia, and finally the desert of northern Mexico. It's the first of Bolaño's two giant masterpieces to be translated into English (the second, 2666, is due out next year), and you can see how he's influenced an era.
A tour de force, Amulet is a highly charged first-person, semi-hallucinatory novel that embodies in one woman's voice the melancholy and violent recent history of Latin America.
It is September 1968 and the Mexican student movement is about to run head-on into the repressive right-wing government of Mexico: hundreds of young people will soon die.
When the army invades the university, one woman hides in a fourth-floor ladies' room and for twelve days she is the only person left on campus. Staring at the floor, she recounts her bohemian life among the young poets of Mexico City -inventing and reinventing freely-and along the way she creates a cosmology of literature. She is Auxilio Lacouture, the Mother of Mexican Poetry.
Auxilio speaks of her passionate attachment to young poets as well as to two beloved aged poets, to a woman who once slept with Che Guevera, and to the painter Remedios Varo, recalling visits which never occured. And as they grow ever more hallucinatory, her "memories" become mythologies before completely transforming into riveting dark prophecies.
Hair-raising and enthralling, Amuletis a heart-breaking novel and another brilliant example of the art of Roberto Bolaño, "the most admired novelist," as Susan Sontag noted, "in the Spanish-speaking world."