Bolano’s radical first novel makes its paperback debut as a New Directions Pearl.
Written when he was only twenty-seven, Antwerp can be viewed as the Big Bang of Roberto Bolano’s fictional universe. This novel presents the genesis of Bolano’s enterprise in prose; all the elements are here, highly compressed, at the moment when his talent explodes. From this springboardwhich Bolano chose to publish in 2002, twenty years after he’d written it (“and even that I can’t be certain of”)as if testing out a high dive, he would plunge into the unexplored depths of the modern novel.
Voices speak from a dream, from a nightmare, from passersby, from an omniscient narrator, from “Roberto Bolano.” Antwerp’s fractured narration in fifty-four sections moves in multiple directions and cuts to the bone.
About the Author
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.
Natasha Wimmer’s translation of Roberto Bolano’s 2666 won the National Book Award’s Best Novel of the Year as well as the PEN Prize.
What People are Saying About This
The only novel that doesn't embarrass me is Antwerp.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Bolano's first 'novel', Antwerp is an intriguing and condensed rehersal of motifs that he goes on to develop with great verve in his later works - dreams and reality, the foreigner, the struggling poet...Antwerp however feels much more experimental and hallucinatory and is less accessible than something like 'The Savage Detectives' although it is very slim 78 pages in my edition.'rules about plot only apply to novels that are copies of other novels' - quite!
"¿.reality seems to me like a swarm of stray sentences¿At 76 pocket-sized pages and retailing at £11.43 on Amazon I feel a bit of A(n)twerp for buying it but it¿s by Roberto Bolano so it was, for me, an unavoidable purchase. Bolano¿s statement ¿It¿s the only novel that doesn¿t embarrass me¿ has, I think, more to do with the form than the content - Antwerp initially reads more like a highly fragmentary prose poem than a novel. Given it¿s length it¿s incredibly spacious ¿ corpses, dwarves, detectives, prostitutes, poets and Bolano jockey for position in 56 loosely connected pieces. Gradually, however, a semi-coherent narrative unfolds - It¿s a piece of DIY detective fiction where the sleuthing is about stitching together rather than unravelling plot lines.Whether you¿ll warm to Antwerp will probably depend on what you believe fiction to be. Saul Bellow, for whom Finnegan¿s Wake was the indecipherable chatter of voices in a distant room, thought that fiction should be a conversation with the reader. Martin Amis finessed this. Fine writers like Bellow, he said, would also invite you into their home and give you the most comfortable chair by the fire. On the strength of Antwerp Bolano would leave you outside in the biting cold with nose pressed against the window straining to read his lips.