The Skating Rink

      Roberto Bolaño
The Skating Rink

With a murder at its heart, Roberto Bolano’s The Skating Rink is, among other things, a crime novel. Murder seems to have exerted a fascination for the endlessly talented Bolano, who in his last interview, according to The Observer, “declared, in all apparent seriousness, that what he would most like to have been was a homicide detective.”

Set in the seaside town of Z, north of Barcelona, The Skating Rink is told in short, suspenseful chapters by three male narrators, and revolves around a beautiful figure skating champion, Nuria Martí. A ruined mansion, knife-wielding women, political corruption, sex, and jealousy all appear in this atmospheric chronicle of a single summer season in a seaside town, with its vacationers, businessmen, immigrants, bureaucrats, social workers, and drifters.


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    Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003

      Roberto Bolaño
Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003

Between Parentheses collects most of the newspaper columns and articles Bolano wrote during the last five years of his life, as well as the texts of some of his speeches and talks and a few scattered prologues. “Taken together,” as the editor Ignacio Echevarría remarks in his introduction, they provide “a personal cartography of the writer: the closest thing, among all his writings, to a kind of fragmented ‘autobiography.’” Bolano’s career as a nonfiction writer began in 1998, the year he became famous overnight for The Savage Detectives; he was suddenly in demand for articles and speeches, and he took to this new vocation like a duck to water. Cantankerous, irreverent, and insufferably opinionated, Bolano also could be tender (about his family and favorite places) as well as a fierce advocate for his heroes (Borges, Cortázar, Parra) and his favorite contemporaries, whose books he read assiduously and promoted generously. A demanding critic, he declares that in his “ideal literary kitchen there lives a warrior”: he argues for courage, and especially for bravery in the face of failure. Between Parentheses fully lives up to his own demands: “I ask for creativity from literary criticism, creativity at all levels.”


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    Woes of the True Policeman

      Roberto Bolaño
Woes of the True Policeman

Begun in the 1980s and worked on until the author’s death in 2003, Woes of the True Policeman 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, Woes of the True Policeman 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, Woes of the True Policeman marks the culmination of one of the great careers of world literature.


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    By Night in Chile

      Roberto Bolaño
By Night in Chile

As through a crack in the wall, By Night in Chile'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, By Night in Chile marks the American debut of an astonishing writer.


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    The Third Reich

      Roberto Bolaño
The Third Reich

After becoming war-games champion, Udo Berger and his girlfriend, Ingebor go to the Costa Brava where they meet Charly and Hanna. Then Charly disappears without a trace. As everything slips beyond his grasp, Udo attempts to re-assert himself by engaging in a days-long match of his favourite war game, Third Reich.


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    Amulet

      Roberto Bolaño
Amulet

Amulet is a monologue, like Bolano's acclaimed debut in English, By Night in Chile. The speaker is Auxilio Lacouture, a Uruguayan woman who moved to Mexico in the 1960s, becoming the "Mother of Mexican Poetry," hanging out with the young poets in the cafes and bars of the University. She's tall, thin,brand blonde, and her favorite young poet in the 1970s is none other than Arturo Belano (Bolano's fictional stand-in throughout his books). As well as her young poets, Auxilio recalls three remarkable women; the melancholic young philosopher Elena, the exiled Catalan painter Remedios Varo, and Lilian Serpas, a poet who once slept with Che Guevara.brAnd in the course of her imaginary visit to the house of Remedios Varo,brAuxilio sees an uncanny landscape, a kind of chasm. This chasm reappears in a vision at the end of the book; an army of children is marching toward it, singing as they go. The children are the idealistic young Latin Americans who came to maturity in the '70s, and the last words of the novel are; "And that song is our amulet."


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    Monsieur Pain

      Roberto Bolaño
Monsieur Pain

“Docemente, ao voltar para casa, comecei a recompor o rosto febril de monsieur Reynaud ao mesmo tempo que meditava sobre o soluço do desconhecido monsieur Vallejo. Imagem recorrente, refleti; nos últimos meses era difícil para mim não associar a doença e até a beleza à lembrança de monsieur Reynaud. Era quase meia-noite e eu havia passado o resto da noitada num café do bairro de Passy em companhia de um velho conhecido, alfaiate aposentado que consagrava grande parte do seu tempo ao estudo do mesmerismo. Já não chovia. De alguma maneira, pensei, as pessoas que nos servem de ponte até os pacientes revelam o estado mais profundo destes. Os intermediários como radiografias.”
Franz Mesmer, um médico do século XVIII, desenvolveu um método de tratamento de doenças humanas servindo-se do magnetismo animal - uma técnica precursora da hipnose que ficou mais conhecida pelo conto Revelação mesmérica, de Edgar Allan Poe. Um dos discípulos do mesmerismo, Pierre Pain, é o protagonista deste romance de Roberto Bolaño, escrito no início dos anos 1980.
Na Paris do entreguerras, Pain é contratado por madame Reynaud para ajudar um sul-americano chamado Vallejo, que sofre de um soluço incurável. Outros médicos avaliaram o homem e nada descobriram.
No entanto, logo o protagonista se encontra envolvido em uma conspiração muito maior do que imaginava. Perseguido por dois homens misteriosos que ele julga serem espanhóis, o mesmerista embarca em uma viagem alucinante pelas ruas de Paris, deparando com artistas de vanguarda, filmes raros de ficção científica e complexos labirintos dignos da imaginação de Jorge Luis Borges.
Monsieur Pain, um dos primeiros romances escritos por Bolaño, é uma peça rara em sua obra: um livro atmosférico, repleto de temas caros à literatura de gênero, como o ocultismo, a busca detetivesca e a confusão entre sonho e realidade. Enquanto Pain se deixa levar pelo mistério, as fronteiras entre o que é real e o que é imaginação se dissolvem.
A revelação final, óbvia para os leitores familiarizados com poesia latino-americana, de que o paciente com soluço se trata do famoso poeta peruano César Vallejo, adiciona ainda mais camadas interpretativas a esta estranha história. As circunstâncias da morte de Vallejo, por sinal, continuam enigmáticas até hoje. Por fim, o epílogo adianta uma técnica narrativa que seria depois consagrada por Bolaño: muitas vozes buscando documentar a vida de pessoas, algumas reais, outras fictícias.


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    Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview & Other Conversations

      Roberto Bolaño
Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview & Other Conversations

With the release of Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives 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 2666, also address Bolaño’s deepest personal concerns, from his domestic life and two young children to the realities of a fatal disease.


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    Distant Star

      Roberto Bolaño
Distant Star

An unnamed narrator attempts to piece together the life and works of an enigmatic would-be poet turned military assassin during Pinochet's regime in Chile. In the early 1970s Alberto Ruiz-Tagle was a little-known poet living in southern Chile. After the military coup of 1973 that brought in the dictatorship of General Pinochet, he embarked upon a new career that involved him in committing murder and other brutalities, and subsequently led to his emergence as a lieutenant in the Chilean air force under his actual name, Carlos Wieder.

Some time later the narrator, now held in a prison camp, looks up and sees a World War II airplane writing the first words of the Book of Genesis in smoke in the sky. The aviator is none other Carlos Wieder, launching his own version of the New Chilean Poetry...

Roberto Bolano's novel is a chilling investigation of the fascist mentality and the limits of evil, as seen in its effects on a literary sensibility, as well as a gripping intellectual thriller.


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    The Secret of Evil

      Roberto Bolaño
The Secret of Evil

A North American journalist in Paris is woken at 4 a.m. by a mysterious caller with urgent information. For V. S. Naipaul the prevalence of sodomy in Argentina is a symptom of the nation’s political ills. Daniela de Montecristo (familiar to readers of Nazi Literature in the Americas and 2666) 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...

The various pieces in the posthumous Secret of Evil extend the intricate, single web that is the work of Roberto Bolano.


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    Antwerp

      Roberto Bolaño
Antwerp

As Bolano’s friend and literary executor, Ignacio Echevarría, once suggested, Antwerp can be viewed as the Big Bang of Roberto Bolano’s fictional universe. Reading this novel, the reader is present at the birth of Bolano’s enterprise in prose: all the elements are here, highly compressed, at the moment when his talent explodes. From this springboard—which Bolano 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 Bolano” all speak—moves in multiple directions and cuts to the bone.


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    Nazi Literature in the Americas

      Roberto Bolaño
Nazi Literature in the Americas

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.


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    The Return

      Roberto Bolaño
The Return

The Return contains thirteen unforgettable stories that seem to tell what Bolano called “the secret story,” “the one we’ll never know.” Bent on returning to haunt you, Bolano’s tales might concern the unexpected fate of a beautiful ex-girlfriend, or soccer, witchcraft, or a dream of meeting the poet Enrique Lihn:they always surprise. Consider the title story: a young partygoer collapses in a Parisian disco and dies on the dance floor. Just as his soul is departing his body,it realizes strange happenings are afoot around his now dead body — and what follows next defies the imagination (except Bolano’s own).


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    The Insufferable Gaucho

      Roberto Bolaño
The Insufferable Gaucho

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.


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