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. For V. S. Naipaul, the prevalence of sodomy in Argentina is a symptom of the nation’s political ills. Daniela de Montecristo (of Nazi Literature in the Americas and 2666) recounts the loss of her virginity. Arturo Belano — Bolaño’s alter ego — returns to Mexico City and meets 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…
This posthumous collection of the Chilean author’s ephemera proves brilliant.
—Time Out New York
Bolaño succeeds in conjuring the unknowable empty spaces that an obsessive mind can imagine into the private lives of others.
Despite its rawness, the brilliance is still there.
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.
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.
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.