And still more on Roberto Bolaño

Francisco Goldman discusses the late Chilean author’s work and reads the short story “Clara” in a podcast on the New Yorker magazine’s book blog:

And the online literary magazine The Millions has a thoughtful essay on Bolaño’s Woes of the True Policeman, the latest of his works to be released posthumously:

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 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The essay also asks if there aren’t hidden costs in a publisher catering to the Bolaño cult, releasing his unpublished writing as finished books instead of scholarly collections of papers.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..

The Neruda Case


Chilean novelist Roberto Ampuero’s thirteen books have been translated into German, French, Italian, Chinese, Swedish, Portuguese, Greek and Croatian and the Spanish-speaking world has awarded him several literary prizes. But only now are English-speaking readers getting a chance to read his work.  This month Riverhead Books, a division of the Penguin group, has published The Neruda Case, one of Ampuero’s six detective novels featuring Chilean sleuth Cayetano Brulé.

The Neruda Case opens in present day Valparaiso, with vivid descriptions of the port city’s “fifty teeming, anarchic hills” and its inhabitants who “risked their lives on shabby postwar trolleys and a handful of whining cable cars each time they rode to work or to homes with crumbling balconies and gardens that settled gracefully on peaks or clung precariously to hillsides.”  Cayetano Brulé watches the city, remembering his work as a much younger man, and a photograph of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda sends his mind back to 1973, before the military coup that ousted Socialist president Salvador Allende.  The poet, gravely ill with cancer,  summons Brulé and asks him to track down an old acquaintance last seen in Mexico.

Here’s an essay by Ampuero’s translator Carolina De Robertis in Publishers Weekly: