Monday, November 17, 2008

Review of By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolaño

By Night in Chile By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolaño

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This amazing book consists of two paragraphs: one 129 pages long, the other a single line, laying on either side of old reluctant priest's cling to life. The furiously told life is populated with characters like a mentor named Farewell, a shoemaker who alone mourns the dead of Germany, General Pinochet, Pablo Neruda and a battalion of priests that kill pigeons with falcons lest the great churches succumb to corrosive shit. It is told in a fever - you are never sure whether the priest lived this amazing life or not, nor are you sure if anyone is there to hear the story.

The back cover copy praises this book as a laceration of Chilean literature, and maybe a detailed familiarization with its authors would bear this out. But one doesn't need to know each tortured politician to appreciate the trip through hell with Dante, nor do you need to be intimate with this parade to see how powerful this little book is. You plummet through the fevered tale with this little priest until you forget you are falling, and when you hit the end it's like being ejected into the air. Breathtaking.

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