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The Skating Rink Hardcover – August 28, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; 1 edition (August 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811217132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811217132
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,067,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The Skating Rink…like much of what [Bolano] wrote, leaves many new novels looking pretty bland.” (Anthony Cummins - The Observer)

“Darkly funny, but also tender and complex in the tenor of classic Bolaño novels.” (Savannah ("Savvy") Jones - SirReadaLot.org)

“…this Catalan drama sizzles with unrequited love and murderous ambition.” (Emma Hagestadt - The Independent)

“A highly engaging novel of lyricism, menace and beauty.” (James Yeh - The Faster Times)

“Passion, mystery, seedy bars, and Bolaño's Olympian irony are here, as always.” (The Village Voice)

“The latest release in the series of highly masterful and literary translations by Chris Andrews…. Deserves to be read widely.” (Rosemary Aud Franklin - World Literature Today)

“Lucid fury . . . is a pretty good description of Bolaño’s aesthetic. He is a novelist of voraciousness without sentiment, hardness to a fever pitch.” (Todd Shy - San Francisco Chronicle)

“One of the strangest mysteries...with its dark-summer heat that all but comes off the page.” (Marilis Hornidge - The Lincoln County News)

“A Book of the Year: The Skating Rink leavens the melancholy of exile with an interest in the uncanny and a knack for the surrealist image.” (Siddhartha Deb - Times Literary Supplement)

“This short, exquisite novel is another unlikely masterpiece, as sui generis as all his books so far…Bolano in The Skating Rink manages to honor genre conventions while simultaneously exploding them, creating a work of intense and unrealized longing.” (Wyatt Mason - The New York Times Book Review)

“A stunning work of fiction. It is infused with a gritty poeticism and a unique worldview.” (Don Sjoerdsma - Northwest Phoenix [Indiana University])

“When I read Bolaño, I think: everything is possible again....How he makes one laugh! The laughter of someone who just escaped being buried live, and suddenly remembers how badly she wants to live.” (Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love)

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.

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

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This book is an interesting read.
Thomas C. Cosner
Perhaps it's cool to write without paragraphs or quotation marks, but unless the book is being read by the author, it makes for confusing reading.
Joan Planek
Like in other Bolano's books, this keeps the mystery until the very end, while having a very contemporary-day story..
Mayo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Dallas Fawson on August 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was worried about this novel for two reasons: I saw that this was written early in his career, and was afraid that he hadn't yet mastered his writing style. The other reason is that they'd already published so many of his novels, and I was worried they'd published all of his good ones first.
Luckily, I was not at all disappointed. While his writing style is certainly different (It's more straightforward, most notably because of the inclusion of a solid plot and lack of poetic ramblings) it's just as good. It was just as thrilling to read as his best novels, and in turn ranks as one of his best. While I didn't think it had quite the power of By Night in Chile, I think it was more powerful than Amulet and Distant Star. It also works well as a starting point for people who want to read Bolano.
It has all of the mystery, violence, politics and beauty we've come to expect in Bolano's writing, as well as many scenes that feel very personal.
If you've read and loved Bolano, you surely won't be disappointed by this novel. And if you haven't read him, this is on par with Last Evenings on Earth as an excellent starting place to get to know his dark beauty and black humor.
Also, in case you weren't sure, the official release date is August 28th, but you can order right now and get it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Schmidt on August 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I will admit that I am not a reader of crime fiction or detective novels. They're intriguing, but it was just never my scene. Not to say The Skating Rink is that much of a detective novel in the first place. As suggested by Giles Harvey of the New York Review of Books (in an excellent piece in The National), the short novel leaves the reader with more questions than answers. But that's to be expected by now, right?

The story revolves around a mysterious Spanish seaside town Z (close to Y and just a drive away from Z, as it turns out). It is told through the eyes of three men - Remo Morán, an artist and business owner; Enric Rosquelles, a fat, wary and arrogant employee of the town's first socialist mayor Pilar; and Gaspar Heredia, a vagabond and poet who gets a job at a campground thanks to his old friend, Remo Morán - and culminates with, what else?, murder! That it is also a love story and one of the first pieces of prose from Bolaño (published in 1993 as La piesta de hielo) adds layers to an already fascinating character study and mystery.

Like anyone who had fallen (or been tricked) to love Roberto Bolaño over the years (I myself discovered him in translation, in 2006, three years after his death, reading By Night In Chile, Distant Star and Last Evenings on Earth back to back) will recognize the early contributions that he would perfect in his two masterpieces, The Savage Detectives and 2666. His mixture of the innane and mercurial and violent is mesmerizing. The way Z unfolds as Gaspar chased Caridad, his descriptions of the Palacio Benvingut ("labyrintine, chaotic, indecisive...") where the murder takes places, or his creation of the beautiful figure skater, Nuria Martí.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Patrick King on August 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"The Skating Rink" was my third encounter with Roberto Bolaño, after 2666: A Novel and The Savage Detectives, and I have to say that I found it to be different but equally as engaging. To begin with, the novel is substantially shorter than both "2666" and "The Savage Detectives" but still retains the mystery and wonder present in those novels. It is definitely more of what I would call a straight-forward mystery (in Bolaño terms that is) and has a clear and defined course that meanders significantly less. It is inconventional in that it is presented from three different points of view and is told in a past tense where each of the narrators are fully aware of the nature of the crime, the victim and the criminal at the beginning, but the reader still has to wait until the end to get any sort of resolution. I was also very intrigued that the novel was able to achieve a great blending of a mystery novel and a work of literary fiction. While I did not enjoy it as much as "2666" or "The Savage Detectives," "The Skating Rink" was a good read and shows a different side to Bolaño that I was unaware of.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on September 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
... while working on this 'first' novel, The Skating Rink. That's a guess on my part; perhaps he knew where he was going and what his 'voice' would be from the start, but I don't think so. The Skating Rink begins as one kind of book, an awkwardly plotted 'crime' novel with a self-consciously literary narrative structure. The three narrators are plausible enough as characters but their narrative voices are not natural, not recognizably 'themselves.' This is especially so in the English translation, in which they have no syntactical fingerprints. I found myself wondering, as I read, how I would have reacted to the first half of The Skating Rink if I hadn't already read some of Bolaño's later novels. I might well have tossed it aside. In short, the first half - make that the first two-thirds - isn't very good. I doubt that I'd have recognized the 'promise' in it.

Those three narrators are all men, writing about their involvement with women. The women remain phantom obsessions in the men's minds. Two of the narrators are what Bolaño calls "hardened poets," a sub-species unknown in most northern climates but endemic to Bolaño's later writings as well. The third is a self-important obnoxious bureaucrat; Bolaño struggles, I think, to make this character psychologically credible. Someone will get murdered, readers are told early in the story, and all three narrators will be involved, but there isn't precisely a mystery. The murder occurs late in the book, and the victim isn't who one has been led to expect. The main action takes place in a sleazy beach town on the Catalan Costa Brava, where decomposition rules.

Social and individual decomposition would become Bolaño's overriding theme in his later books, along with despair and depravity.
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