By Night in Chile (Roberto Bolaño)

The tragicomic deathbed reflections of a conservative Jesuit priest and amateur poet. One of Bolaño’s earlier efforts, By Night in Chile is a boisterous parody of Chilean culture and politics under Pinochet, but lacks the engine of dread driving Bolaño’s magnum opus, 2666, or the understated melancholy of The Savage Detectives. The reader can see shades of future work, most obviously in the fractured, reflexive take on the Latin American literati and a Bolaño doppelgänger, the “wizened youth”. The anecdote of Maria Canales and the body in the basement, however, gives a first hint at the oases of horror to come…


Written on September 4, 2013