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Night in Chile by Robert Bolano is a spare and tightly written story that simultaneously explores the incestuous world of literary criticism in mid-20th Century South America and exposes the endemic acquiescence to facist terror that characterized many South American societies during that era. While the book is written in the first person as a priest's confession, it is really a confession of an entire society who let injustice and torture happen and pretended that every thing was alright as long as order reigned and private property was sacred. It is also a story about how people make compromises in their values in order to live the lives they choose. Bolano's writing reminded me of Saramago; so if you like Saramago, you will probably enjoy this book. Also, Bolano is particularly skilled in effectively using subtle suggestion rather than graphic exposition to create images that are at the same time clear yet shrouded, much like a pair of striking, emotional eyes peering out from behind a veil. It may be a trite message, which we all learned from our mothers, but at the end of this book one cannot help but be reminded that the person with whom you must live everyday of your life and who will judge your every act is, afterall, yourself.
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