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Distant Star

by Roberto Bolaño

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7482222,025 (3.77)33
An unnamed narrator observes the progression of a young poet into an enigmatic officer and nationalist sky writer with darkly creative aspirations in Pinochet's air force.
Recently added byMDMcBride, MRMP, private library, Moraene, sjanke, jhaviland, MARizzo72, nick4998
  1. 10
    A Funny Dirty Little War by Osvaldo Soriano (chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: I thought Soriano's novela satirising the Argentine dictatorship might appeal to those who enjoyed Distant Star - it's funnier and it packs a lot more punch.
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» See also 33 mentions

English (17)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
An engrossing, tense and disturbing read. I was sad that I lacked the background to appreciate fully the deeper subtleties. ( )
  nick4998 | Oct 31, 2020 |
It's Roberto Bolaño, but only three-star Bolaño...

Let it be known that I love this writer's works, and 'The Savage Detectives', in particular. However... this novella has its moments but it's inconsistent. And it's no surprise. It's another of the books based on an incident from a former work (in this case, the highly entertaining 'Nazi Literature in the Americas'). And Bolaño informs us in the preface that he and his fictional alter-ego, Arturo Belano, knocked out the text in six weeks. It shows.

The opening and ending are strong, as they always seem to be with Bolaño. One can envisage his starting with the two bookends then working out how to get from one to the other. There are some strong passages, notably those involving the anti-hero, a Chilean fascist named Carlos Wieder who is a memorably unpleasant sociopath. Then there are other passages where the virtues of this or that poet are mentioned but without giving the reader anything to go on, unless he/she happens to be an expert on Chilean poetry. There are unconvincing depictions of Soviet generals as film stars/heart throbs. These sections remind me of Murakami - and from this reader's perspective, that's not a good thing...

Overall, then, I found this readable but the slightest of Bolaño's works I've read so far. ( )
  PZR | Jul 28, 2018 |
I love Bolaño. It's not quite Savage Detectives though. ( )
  deeronthecurve | Jan 19, 2017 |
A wonderful, taut little novel that elaborates on the final chapter of _Nazi Literature in the Americas_, which I also loved. The story deals with a Chilean poet/serial killer whose perverse aesthetics are given free reign by the Pinochet regime following the 1973 coup. A powerful meditation on the intersections among desire, violence, and memory. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Strange, disturbing, absorbing and compulsively re-read-able modern take on the crime novel/noir about a poet who murders for Pinochet and the community he's a part of. Blood all around. ( )
1 vote bostonbibliophile | Apr 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roberto Bolañoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Andrews, ChrisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glastra van Loon, AlineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"What star falls unseen?"

William Faulkner
Dedication
For Victoria  Ávalos and Lautaro Bolaño
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La primera vez que vi a Carlos Wieder fue en 1971 o tal vez en 1972, cuando Salvador Allende era presidente de Chile.
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An unnamed narrator observes the progression of a young poet into an enigmatic officer and nationalist sky writer with darkly creative aspirations in Pinochet's air force.

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