From 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)
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The late Bolaño, a Chilean writer whose posthumous reputation only grows as more of his works are translated into English, practiced the short story and the novel with equal genius. This new collection of 13 stories proves to be a defining sampler of Bolaño's style, thematic concerns, and favored character types. Stories involving love on the skids, sexual situations gone wrong, and breakups looming around the corner find their place in the rough-and-tumble lives of cops, gangsters, writers, political fomenters (“At the time I used to hang out with anarchists and radical feminists and the books I read were more or less influenced by the company I was keeping”), and even a ghost and a necrophiliac. Obvious autobiographical elements populate his stories, especially those dealing with writers' lives and repressive dictatorial times (Bolaño suffered imprisonment during the Pinochet era). At odds, intriguingly, with the bleak characters he depicts is his sensitive style (“She had long brown hair, and her simple ponytail gathered all the grace in the world”). --Brad Hooper