The Insufferable Gaucho

The Insufferable Gaucho

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by Roberto Bolaño, Chris Andrews
     
 

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These five astonishing stories, along with two compelling essays, show Bolano as a magician, pulling bloodthirsty rabbits out of his hat.
The stories in The Insufferable Gaucho — unpredictable and daring, highly controlled yet somehow haywire — might concern a stalwart rat police detective investigating terrible rodent crimes, or an elusive plagiarist,

Overview

These five astonishing stories, along with two compelling essays, show Bolano as a magician, pulling bloodthirsty rabbits out of his hat.
The stories in The Insufferable Gaucho — unpredictable and daring, highly controlled yet somehow haywire — might concern a stalwart rat police detective investigating terrible rodent crimes, or an elusive plagiarist, or an elderly Argentine lawyer giving up city life for an improbable return to the familye state on the Pampas, now gone to wrack and ruin. These five astonishing stories, along with two compelling essays, show Bolano as a magician, pulling bloodthirsty rabbits out of his hat.

Editorial Reviews

Michael Greenberg
Readers trying to navigate Bolaño's gathering body of work may find themselves wondering where to turn: since his death in 2003, 12 of his books have been published in the United States. The Insufferable Gaucho would be an excellent place to start. The title story of this collection is one of Bolaño's most powerful fictions.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Seven tales by the amazingly prolific-in-death Bolaño (2666) explore themes of self-exile and illness. The two best stories concern conflicted Argentinean protagonists; in the title story, Hector Pereda, "an irreproachable lawyer with a record of honesty," leaves Buenos Aires after the death of his wife and the collapse of the country's economy to make a go as a gaucho on the pampas. Inhabiting a ruined ranch, with only the languid locals and predatory rabbits as company, Hector finds a welcome, near-poetic restoration of a society where self-reliance and egalitarianism reign. In "Alvaro Rousselot's Journey," an acclaimed Argentinean novelist sets out for Paris to confront a filmmaker who has blatantly plagiarized his books, though what really eats at the novelist is that the filmmaker has ignored the writer's recent works, leaving him with the sense that "he had lost his best reader." "Rat Police" reflects Bolaño's interest in fantasy and noirish crime fiction, while "Literature + Illness = Illness" is essentially an essay about terminal illness. Andrews is an excellent translator, and even if these are somewhat lesser works in the Bolaño pantheon, completists will snap this up. (Sept.)
Newsweek
“A spellbinder.”
The New York Times Magazine
Bolaño wrote with the high-voltage first-person braininess of a Saul Bellow and an extreme subversive vision of his own.— Francisco Goldman
The New York Review of Books
An exemplary literary rebel.— Sarah Kerr
Francisco Goldman - The New York Times Magazine
“Bolaño wrote with the high-voltage first-person braininess of a Saul
Bellow and an extreme subversive vision of his own.”
Sarah Kerr - The New York Review of Books
“An exemplary literary rebel.”
Library Journal
Another volume extracted from Bolaño's extensive posthumous vault, this highly original but uneven collection of five stories and two essays perpetuates the typical idiosyncrasies of Bolaño's inimitable style. After the opening bagatelle, the eponymous second story, written with thematic strains of Borges, reverses the location of the traditional violent myth of the gaucho from the Argentine pampas to the city. Probably the most unusual contribution is "Rat Police," an allegorical narrative related by rats; after reading this short story, one wonders if Bolaño's creative soul is brilliant or warped. "Alvaro Rousselt's Journey" has as protagonists two of Bolaño's most characteristic types: the expatriate writer and the prostitute. The two-part final story, "Two Catholic Tales," does not measure up to the rest of the volume. The first of the two concluding essays tackles the relationship between literature and illness with fitting reverence to Baudelaire, Mallarmé, and Kafka; the second, "The Myths of Chtulhu," is more desultory and off target. Both are esthetic brain dumps from Bolaño's creative but offbeat mind. VERDICT These short pieces hold the attention of readers, especially those who already know what to expect from Bolaño. For newcomers, these items come across as creative but bizarre.—Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811219068
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
05/31/2013
Pages:
170
Sales rank:
492,083
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Author of 2666 and many other acclaimed works, Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) was born in Santiago, Chile, and later lived in Mexico, Paris, and Spain. He has been acclaimed “by far the most exciting writer to come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time” (Ilan Stavans, The Los Angeles Times),” and as “the real thing and the rarest” (Susan Sontag). Among his many prizes are the extremely prestigious Herralde de Novela
Award and the Premio Rómulo Gallegos. He was widely considered to be the greatest Latin American writer of his generation. He wrote nine novels, two story collections, and five books of poetry, before dying in July 2003 at the age of 50.

The poet Chris Andrewsteaches at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, where he is a member of the Writing and Society Research Center. He has translated books by Roberto Bolaño and César Aira for New Directions.

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