cover image Antwerp


Roberto Bolano, , trans. from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer. . New Directions, $15.95 (78pp) ISBN 978-0-8112-1717-0

The dead and wildly fashionable Bolaño (2666 ) seems doomed to have all of his scribblings published. Hence this slapdash collation of 56 cinematic gestures set in 1980 Barcelona and featuring a nervous South American narrator named Roberto Bolaño, who is fascinated by facade versus reality, observes himself as if from the outside, and records random scenes (i.e., a hunchback eating sardines from a can in the woods). Alternately, elements of a detective plot are set up but hardly developed and involve a police sergeant searching for someone (perhaps the hunchback) and a nameless young woman (red-haired, a drug addict, a witness) sodomized by a cop—or is it the narrator? Bolaño derides conventional story lines (“rules about plot only apply to novels that are copies of other novels”) in favor of recording senseless, disjointed snippets of speech, errant impressions, and sensations. Collectively, these might be viewed as the paranoid, manic musings of a writer desperately searching for material. (May)