Roberto Bolaño

Born in Santiago, Chile, Roberto Bolaño (1953–2003) moved to Mexico City with his family in 1968. He went back to Chile in 1973 to “help build socialism” (as he wrote in his story “Dance Card”), but less than a month after his return Pinochet seized power. Bolaño was arrested and imprisoned in Concepción. After his release, he returned to Mexico before moving to Paris and then on to Barcelona. Bolaño has been acclaimed as “the real thing and the rarest” (Susan Sontag), “a spellbinder” (Newsweek), and “never less than mesmerizing” (Los Angeles Times). Winner of many prizes, including the Premio Herralde de Novela and the Premio Rómulo Gallegos, Bolaño wrote ten novels, two collections of short stories and five books of poetry before he died at the age of 50, on July 15, 2003.

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A Little Lumpen Novelita

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

“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 younger brother brings home two petty criminals who need a place to stay.…
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The Secret of Evil

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews Natasha Wimmer

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.…
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Between Parentheses

Nonfiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated by Natasha Wimmer

Between Parentheses collects Roberto Bolaño’s nonfiction: fiercely opinionated articles, speeches, essays, and talks, as well as most of the newspaper columns he wrote during the last five years of his life, when fame had come to him at last. Here we have a tender account of his return to Chile, reflections on family life, impassioned takes on books by writers Bolaño admired (or vehemently despised), and advice on how to write a short story.…
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The Unknown University

Poetry by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Laura Healy

Perhaps surprisingly to some of his fiction fans, Roberto Bolaño touted poetry as the superior art form, able to approach an infinity in which “you become infinitely small without disappearing.” When asked, “What makes you believe you’re a better poet than a novelist?” Bolaño replied, “The poetry makes me blush less.” The sum of his life’s work in his preferred medium, The Unknown University is a showcase of Bolaño’s gift for freely crossing genres, with poems written in prose, stories in verse, and flashes of writing that can hardly be categorized.…
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Tres

Poetry by Roberto Bolaño

Translated by Laura Healy

Roberto Bolaño’s Tres is a showcase of the author’s willingness to freely cross genres, with poems in prose, stories in verse, and flashes of writing that can hardly be categorized. As the title implies, the collection is composed of three sections. “Prose from Autumn in Gerona,” a cinematic series of prose poems, slowly reveals a subtle and emotional tale of unrequited love by presenting each scene, shattering it, and piecing it all back together, over and over again.…
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Between Parentheses

Nonfiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

Between Parentheses collects most of the newspaper columns and articles Bolaño 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 Echevarria 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.’” Bolaño’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.…
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The Insufferable Gaucho

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

As Pankaj Mishra remarked in The Nation, one of the remarkable qualities of Bolaño’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 Bolaño 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.…
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The Return

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

As Pankaj Mishra remarked in The Nation, one of the remarkable qualities of Bolaño’s short stories is that they can do the “work of a novel.” The Return contains thirteen unforgettable stories bent on returning to haunt you. Wide-ranging, suggestive, and daring, a Bolaño story might concern the unexpected fate of a beautiful ex-girlfriend or a dream of meeting Enrique Lihn: his plots go anywhere and everywhere and they always surprise.…
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Antwerp

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

As Bolaño’s friend and literary executor, Ignacio Echevarria, once suggested, Antwerp 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.…
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Monsieur Pain

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

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….…
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Nazi Literature in the Americas

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

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.…
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Romantic Dogs

Poetry by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Laura Healy

Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) has caught on like a house on fire, and The Romantic Dogs, a bilingual collection of forty-four poems, offers American readers their first chance to encounter this literary phenomenon as a poet: his own first and strongest literary persona. These poems, wide-ranging in forms and length, have appeared in magazines such as Harper’s, Threepenny Review, The Believer, Boston Review, Poetry, Soft Targets, Tin House, The Nation, Circumference, A Public Space, and Conduit.…
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Amulet

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

Amulet is a monologue, like Bolaño’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 cafés and bars of the University. She’s tall, thin, and blonde, and her favorite young poet in the 1970s is none other than Arturo Belano (Bolaño’s fictional stand-in throughout his books).…
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Last Evenings on Earth

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Roberto Bolano’s story collection Last Evenings on Earth was acclaimed by Francine Prose in The New York Times Book Review as “something extraordinarily beautiful and (at least to me) entirely new…. Reading Roberto Bolano is like hearing the secret story, being shown the fabric of the particular, watching the tracks of art and life merge at the horizon and linger there like a dream from which we awake inspired to look more attentively at the world.…
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Distant Star

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

The star of Roberto Bolaño’s hair-raising novel Distant Star is Alberto Ruiz-Tagle, an air force pilot who exploits the 1973 coup to launch his own version of the New Chilean Poetry, a multi-media enterprise involving sky-writing, poetry, torture, and photo exhibitions. For our unnamed narrator, who first encounters this “star” in a college poetry workshop, Ruiz-Tagle becomes the silent hand behind every evil act in the darkness of Pinochet’s regime. The narrator, unable to stop himself, tries to track Ruiz-Tagle down, and see signs of his activity over and over again.…
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By Night in Chile

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

By Night in Chile’s single night-long rant provides—as through a crack in the wall—a terrifying, clandestine view of the strange bedfellows of Church and State in Chile. This wild, eerily compact novel—Roberto Bolaño’s first work available in English––recounts the tale of a poor boy who wanted to be a poet, but ends up a Jesuit priest and a conservative literary critic, a lap dog to Chile’s rich and powerful cultural elite, by whose favors he meets Pablo Neruda and Ernst Jünger.…
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The Skating Rink

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

Set in the seaside town of Z, on the Costa Brava, north of Barcelona, The Skating Rink 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.…
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An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter

Fiction by César Aira

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

With a contribution by Roberto Bolaño

An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter is the story of a moment in the life of the German artist Johan Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858). Greatly admired as a master landscape painter, he was advised by Alexander von Humboldt to travel West from Europe to record the spectacular landscapes of Chile, Argentina, and Mexico. Rugendas did in fact become one of the best of the nineteenth-century European painters to venture into Latin America.…
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Bolaño is always refreshing to read because things are never what they seem.

—Randy Rosenthal, Tweed’s Magazine

Bolaño’s spare prose lends his narrator’s account a chilly precision.

The New Yorker

As for Bolaño, what can one say? One of our greatest writers, a straight colossus.

—Junot Diaz

One of the best books of the year—A Little Lumpen Novelita feels as substantial as a book three times as long… This is a glittering gem, as maddening and haunting as you’d expect from Bolaño.

—Gabe Habash, Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

A Little Lumpen Novelita is a piece of intelligent realism without any sermons.

El País

A Little Lumpen Novelita is brave and beautiful, a ‘quiet storm’ that reminds us what a joy it is to read Bolaño’s intimate writing.

Revista Rocinante

This posthumous collection of the Chilean author’s ephemera proves brilliant.

Time Out New York

Reading Between Parentheses is not like sitting through an air-conditioned seminar with the distinguished Señor Bolaño. It’s like sitting on a barstool next to him, the jukebox playing dirty flamenco, after he’s consumed a platter of Pisco Sours. You may wish to make a batch yourself before you step onto the first page.

—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

Antwerp is a total avant-garde freakout, and among the most beautiful things Bolaño wrote.

The Millions

A spellbinder.

Newsweek

Bolaño has joined the immortals.

The Washington Post

Bolaño has proven that literature can do anything.

—Jonathan Lethem

The closest thing, among all his writings, to a kind of fragmented ‘autobiography.’

—Ignacio Echevarría

Never less than mesmerizing.

Los Angeles Times

The very highest level of literary achievement.

—Colm Tóibín

The very highest level of literary achievement.

—Colm Tóibín

An exemplary literary rebel.

—Sarah Kerr, The New York Review of Books

An exemplary literary rebel.

—Sarah Kerr, The New York Review of Books

In these essays we hear Bolaño’s real voice.

—Marcela Valdes, The Nation

In these essays we hear Bolaño’s real voice.

—Marcela Valdes, The Nation

They radiate the audacity of intellect, as well as the cruelty of vision, that have won their author a devoted following.

Boston Review

Raw, straightforward and crisp … striking, truly exceptional work. Beautifully unrefined.

American Book Review

Poems that unscroll like black-and-white movies or occupy pages like a tattoo, art and life entwine, and all is sinister and precious.

Booklist

Bolaño, the phantom mega-star of global fiction since his death in 2003, thought of himself as a poet first and a novelist second. In verse, as in prose, Bolaño leads us on journeys through a surreal landscape of exile, longing, and nostalgia.

The Independent

One my best two books.

—Roberto Bolano

We savor all he has written, as every offering is a portal into the elaborate terrain of his genius.

—Patti Smith

Wonderfully unreserved.

—Sarah Kerr, The New York Review of Books

They radiate the audacity of the intellect, as well as the cruelty of vision, that have won their author a devoted following.

Boston Review

Peers at the infinite through compelling, surreal and cinematic poems … beautiful.

The Faster Times

Bolano teeters on the brink of fantasy, but without ever detaching himself from a concrete, material world of pain and pleasure.

—Will Heyward, *The Australian *

It’s a book that illuminates the personal struggle behind one of the great literary careers of our times, a career that has come to define a global literary aesthetic.

The Los Angeles Times

Bolaño was hungry, this book reminds you, for just about everything.

—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

Its most recent poems were written fifteen years after its earliest, and many of these newer ones remind us of all the reasons why Bolaño is such a fantastic writer, one of the best of our times.

The Millions

Each tale turns the reader into a voyeur, grasping at snapshots of troubled lives and ghosts.

The Guardian

Although the thirteen stories that make up Roberto Bolaño’s newly translated collection percolate with brooding darkness, they also bubble with a surprising luminosity … each richer and more resonant than the last.

Time Out New York

The sense of embattlement that animates the writing, and the scab-picking intensity that he brings to his obsessions, makes The Return a compelling encapsulation of Bolaño’s work.

Los Angeles Times

Genius: This new collection of thirteen stories proves to be a defining sampler of Bolaño’s style, thematic concerns and favored character types.

Booklist

Dark, intimate, and sneakily touching: there is gold to be found in this collection.

—Michael Greenberg, The New York Review of Books

Bolaño succeeds in conjuring the unknowable empty spaces that an obsessive mind can imagine into the private lives of others.

The Rumpus

Despite its rawness, the brilliance is still there.

Daily Kos

Each of these tales boasts an aspect of Bolaño’s prodigious talent: his ability to leap into a character’s skin, quickly, with compelling confidence; or his facility for making sinister personalities and surreally uncomfortable situations feel all too plausible.

Time Out Chicago

A living, breathing, true-to-life mystery with so many shades of exposure, the story’s inconclusiveness seems preordained, exquisitely inevitable.

The Millions

There is something we take away from each of them, some phrase that stops us dead with admiration, or a vision that plunges us far beyond the surface of the prose.

The Nervous Breakdown

Paragraphs demand to be reread, because they give you the feeling that you’ve missed something. You did miss something, but you won’t find it in the printed words. It’s the space around the words where you’ll find the answer.

The Coffin Factory

It’s a glimpse into the process of a totemic artistic figure.

The A.V Club

Each of the tales boast an aspect of Bolaño’s prodigious talent.

Time Out New York

Bolaño’s writing is reliably intriguing.

Publishers Weekly

Bolano’s febrile narrative tack and occasional surreal touches bring to mind the classics of Latin American magic realism his cerebral protagonist and nonfiction borrowings are reminiscent of Thomas Bernhard and W.G. Sebald. The novel, Bolaño’s first to be translated into English, is at once occasion for celebration.

The New York Times

The most influential and admired novelist of his generation in the Spanish-speaking world.

—Susan Sontag, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Bolaño was no political pamphleteer. And yet his characters’ angst and desires play out against the canvas of history. With his raw, barely controlled emotions, and a talent for mining the pathos, beauty, and even humor amid the horror of ordinary life, his fiction soared.

The Daily Beast

That dream, its stubborn survival despite all evidence of its defeat, would become the subject of much of Bolaño’s writing.

—Ben Ehrenreich, the arabophile

If you haven’t heard of Roberto Bolaño yet, you will soon.

—Benjamin Lytal, New York Sun
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