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The Secret of Evil Hardcover – April 30, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of those rare writers who write for a future time. We have only begun to appreciate his strange, oblique genius.” — John Banville

“Paragraphs demand to be reread, because they give you the feeling that you’ve missed something. You did miss something, but you won’t find it in the printed words. It’s the space around the words where you’ll find the answer.” — The Coffin Factory

“Bolaño succeeds in conjuring the unknowable empty spaces that an obsessive mind can imagine into the private lives of others.” — The Rumpus

“Each of the tales boast an aspect of Bolaño’s prodigious talent: his ability to leap into a character’s skin, quickly, with compelling confidence; or his facility for making sinister personalities and surreally uncomfortable situations feel all too plausible.” — Time Out New York

About the Author

Author of 2666 and many other acclaimed works, Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) was born in Santiago, Chile, and later lived in Mexico, Paris, and Spain. He has been acclaimed “by far the most exciting writer to come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time” (Ilan Stavans, The Los Angeles Times),” and as “the real thing and the rarest” (Susan Sontag). Among his many prizes are the extremely prestigious Herralde de Novela 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.

The poet Chris Andrews has translated many books by Roberto Bolaño and César Aira for New Directions.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; First Edition edition (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811218155
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811218153
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #694,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author of 2666 and many other acclaimed works, Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) was born in Santiago, Chile, and later lived in Mexico, Paris, and Spain. He has been acclaimed "by far the most exciting writer to come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time" (Ilan Stavans, The Los Angeles Times)," and as "the real thing and the rarest" (Susan Sontag). Among his many prizes are the extremely prestigious Herralde de Novela 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. Chris Andrews has won the TLS Valle Inclán Prize and the PEN Translation Prize for his Bolaño translations.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Roberto Bolaño died in 2003, at the age of 50. The author of BY NIGHT IN CHILE, THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES, and 2666 was a towering genius, no question about it. But the posthumous publications even of geniuses can be disappointing; the recent THIRD REICH, for example, while still uniquely his, lacked the sheer intensity of his greatest works. So I had limited expectations of this collection of stories and fragments garnered from his computer files.

But how wrong I was! Partly because with stories and fragments you do not expect either the range or the embrace of a masterpiece like 2666. But mainly because, despite the enormous length of his most famous books, Bolaño had been developing a style that relied increasingly on what was NOT said, breaking off the narrative abruptly at the approach of evil -- what his editor, Ignacio Etchevarría, calls his "poetics of inconclusiveness." It means that even fragments can have an ominous suggestive power, and there is no way of knowing whether such a fragment is not, in fact, complete.
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Format: Hardcover
If you enjoyed 2666, The Savage Detectives, or By Night in Chile, don't automatically assume you're going to find anything of interest to you in this posthumous scrap heap.

If, however, you were bowled over by the aforementioned texts, and ventured beyond them to be further bowled over by Amulet, Distant Star, Nazi Literature in the Americas, Last Evenings on Earth, Between Parentheses, et cetera, then you'll more than likely be satisfied with what the editors have dug up for us with The Secret of Evil, an insignificant but, for the Bolano obsessive, ultimately fascinating assemblage of oddities and false starts. For those of us who, having come to the end of Bolano's published novels and short story collections, still are frantic for him, this is a nifty grab bag of pieces heavily saturated with the man's tell-tale style. It is no substiture for his great works, and won't do for you what Amulet did, or Last Evenings on Earth did, but as a way of staving off the inevitable, it works well.
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Format: Paperback
Roberto Bolaño died in 2003, at the age of 50. The author of BY NIGHT IN CHILE, THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES, and 2666 was a towering genius, no question about it. But the posthumous publications even of geniuses can be disappointing; the recent THIRD REICH, for example, while still uniquely his, lacked the sheer intensity of his greatest works. So I had limited expectations of this collection of stories and fragments garnered from his computer files.

But how wrong I was! Partly because with stories and fragments you do not expect either the range or the embrace of a masterpiece like 2666. But mainly because, despite the enormous length of his most famous books, Bolaño had been developing a style that relied increasingly on what was NOT said, breaking off the narrative abruptly at the approach of evil -- what his editor, Ignacio Etchevarría, calls his "poetics of inconclusiveness." It means that even fragments can have an ominous suggestive power, and there is no way of knowing whether such a fragment is not, in fact, complete.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is not a book of unfinished stories, but stories in development, in motion. This is what makes it an excellent book into how Bolano developed stories. Having just read Last Evenings just before this, it is clear these are unfinished and require polishing to bring them up to publishable standard. I can see places where the stories would be expanded and filled out, but are not. The only reason I gave it 4 is because these are not final stories.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's rare that ephemera and unpublished works collected after an author dies holds up to what they put out when in control of their own affairs; this one is the exception. If you like Bolaño's work, you’ll like this. Not everything is a homerun, but even the sketches provide an interesting window into his creative processes.
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