Woes of the dead novelist

woes of the true policeman

It’s the second book by the late Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño to be published this year, and rarely has a dead author been so prolific. An essay in the New Republic’s online literary review, The Book http://www.tnr.com/book/review/the-roberto-bola%C3%B1o-bubble# reviews Woes of the True Policeman, noting that in structure and style the novel resembles Bolaño’s 2666, a bestseller released four years ago.  But Bolaño left specific instructions for 2666 to be published, which he did not do for this novel and reviewer Sam Carter described Woes as “a rough sketch of ideas that were fully realized in 2666.”

The essay also asks if there aren’t hidden costs in a publisher catering to the Bolaño cult, releasing his unpublished writing as finished books instead of scholarly collections of papers. “The continued publication and popular packaging of his incomplete work may actually be diluting his reputation as a writer of varied talents and fearless ambition,” Carter writes.

And there may be more Bolaño books in the pipeline.  A Lumpen Novella, written a year before his death in 2003, has yet to be translated and there is a manuscript entitled Diorama that has not been published in Spanish or translated into English..

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