The Return

The Return

by Roberto Bolaño, Chris Andrews
     
 

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A stunning collection of short stories - mostly dealing with the sex trade - by the late Chilean master and author of The Savage Detectives.The Return contains thirteen unforgettable stories that seem to tell what Bolano called “the secret story,” “the one we’ll never know.” Bent on returning to haunt you, Bolano’s tales might

Overview

A stunning collection of short stories - mostly dealing with the sex trade - by the late Chilean master and author of The Savage Detectives.The Return contains thirteen unforgettable stories that seem to tell what Bolano called “the secret story,” “the one we’ll never know.” Bent on returning to haunt you, Bolano’s tales might concern the unexpected fate of a beautiful ex-girlfriend, or soccer, witchcraft, or a dream of meeting the poet Enrique Lihn:they always surprise. Consider the title story: a young partygoer collapses in a Parisian disco and dies on the dance floor. Just as his soul is departing his body,it realizes strange happenings are afoot around his now dead body — and what follows next defies the imagination (except Bolano’s own).

Editorial Reviews

The Guardian
“Each tale turns the reader into a voyeur, grasping at snapshots of troubled lives and ghosts.”
The Los Angeles Times
““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 Bolano’s work.””
The New York Review of Books
““Dark, intimate and sneakily touching: there is gold to be found in this collection.””
Publishers Weekly
Translator Chris Andrews deserves enormous recognition for introducing America to Bolaño with Night in Chile back in 2003. Now, with the Bolaño renaissance in full swing and the backlog of untranslated works narrowing, Andrews culls the short stories omitted from Last Evenings on Earth. Save perhaps the title story—in which a dead man follows his body through an increasingly noxious series of abuses—the stories have a subdued and sketchlike quality, from underworld confessionals like “Snow” and “Joanna Silvestri,” to tender reminiscences like “Cell Mates” and the heartbreaking missed romance of “Clara.” Devotees of Bolaño will recognize the writer’s merciless (and often humorous) fusion of high art and dark human nature in small flights like “Meeting with Enrique Lihn” and comic bloodbaths like “William Burns,” though mercy plays a surprising role in several of the stories, as in the incredible “Prefiguration of Lalo Cura,” in which the cast and crew of high-concept pornos face their late-life requiem. The initiated and dedicated have a welcome feast of small desolations. (July)
Jonathan Lethem - The New York Times
“Bolaño has proven [literature] can do anything.”
Venus Zine
“A rare and precious collection…. [It] transports you on as many tiny, immersive vacations as there are stories in the book.”
The New York Times
Bolaño has proven [literature] can do anything.”— Jonathan Lethem
The Washington Post
“Bolaño has joined the immortals.”
Library Journal
In 2007, New Directions published a collection called Last Evenings on Earth, which includes selections from two Bolaño collections, Llamadas telefónicas and Putas asesinas. The present collection contains the remaining 13 short stories from those two volumes. Since the overall literary value of both translated collections is pretty much equal, one wonders why the publisher did not issue them as they originally appeared. In many ways, these miniature gems are vintage Bolaño. Since the stories take place in places like Barcelona and Russia, far from Bolaño's Chilean homeland, they emphasize exile, one of his thematic constants. The often frustrating open endings and framed narrative appear in the author's narrations. Among the characters are the omnipresent author's alter ego and women of easy virtue (porn stars and prostitutes). A bizarre sense of humor (in one story the main character subsists on instant mashed potatoes) often clashes with the macabre (the necrophilia of "The Return" and the spectral encounter in "Meeting with Enrique Lihn"). VERDICT Despite the skimpy plots, dark mood, and unusual ambiance, these dozen stories will help perpetuate the almost mythic posthumous fame of Bolaño and may be more accessible than the brilliant but superlengthy 2666.—Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811219051
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
09/20/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
200
Sales rank:
611,863
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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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