As through a crack in the wall, By Night in Chile's single night-long rant provides a terrifying, clandestine view of the strange bedfellows of Church and State in Chile. This wild, eerily compact novel recounts the tale of a poor boy who wanted to be a poet, but ends up a half-hearted Jesuit priest and a conservative literary critic, a sort of ...
As through a crack in the wall, By Night in Chile's single night-long rant provides a terrifying, clandestine view of the strange bedfellows of Church and State in Chile. This wild, eerily compact novel recounts the tale of a poor boy who wanted to be a poet, but ends up a half-hearted Jesuit priest and a conservative literary critic, a sort of lap dog to the rich and powerful cultural elite, in whose villas he encounters Pablo Neruda and Ernst Junger. Father Urrutia is offered a tour of Europe by agents of Opus Dei; and he is next assigned -after the destruction of Allende- the secret, never-to-be-disclosed job of teaching Pinochet, at night, all about Marxism, so the junta generals can know their enemy. Soon, searingly, his memories go from bad to worse.
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Publishers Weekly, 2001-06-11 Born in 1953 and a resident of Spain since 1977, Chilean author Bolano didn't publish his first work of fiction until he was 43, but he's certainly made up for lost time. In the last five years he's published seven books, the last of which, Llamadas telefonicas (Telephone Calls, Anagrama, 1997), solidified his reputation as one of Latin America's premier postmodernist writers. In this his latest novel, Bolano presents the life of Sebasti n Urrutia Lacroix, a Chilean priest and minor poet who, under the pseudonym H. Ibacache, doubles as one the country's most important literary critics. "Now I'm dying," Sebasti n declares in the book's first line, "but I still have a lot to say... There are some things that must be cleared up." Thus begins a hallucinatory rant in which Sebasti n recounts his adventures as part of Santiago's literary scene and attempts to justify his flirtations with the darker side of Chilean politics. (After all, this is the era of Pinochet, when, in Bolano's view, even society women can hide horrors in their basements.) A classic use of the unreliable narrator and a powerful allegory about the deceptions of political life, Bolano's novel is another success. Strongly recommended for both libraries and bookstores. Marcela Vald?s, "Criticas" (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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