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Last Evenings on Earth

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Last Evenings on Earth Cover

 

Staff Pick

When he died in 2003, at the age of 50, Roberto Bolaño was all but unknown anywhere north of the Rio Grande, yet he is now acclaimed internationally and considered among the most eminent figures in Latin American letters. Chilean by birth, but living in exile throughout much of his life, Bolaño had always been a dedicated writer, yet began publishing with increasing fervor in the mid-1990s. Like much of his work, including the incomparable epic The Savage Detectives, Last Evenings on Earth is a bold, singular effort that defies easy classification. Many of the fourteen stories contained in Last Evenings are incisive, yet existentially enigmatic, tales of writers longing to discover the elusive answers to questions of craft and self, some of which turn out to be ambiguous at best. Often somber, even haunting, these short stories unfurl in the low-lit peripheries of prescience and immediacy that Bolaño most likely knew all too well.
Recommended by Jeremy, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

From Powells.com:

Publisher Comments:

"The melancholy folklore of exile," as Roberto Bolaño once put it, pervades these fourteen haunting stories. Bolano's narrators are usually writers grappling with private (and generally unlucky) quests, who typically speak in the first person, as if giving a deposition, like witnesses to a crime. These protagonists tend to take detours and to narrate unresolved efforts. They are characters living in the margins, often coming to pieces, and sometimes, as in a nightmare, in constant flight from something horrid.

In the short story "Silva the Eye," Bolaño writes in the opening sentence: "It's strange how things happen, Mauricio Silva, known as The Eye, always tried to escape violence, even at the risk of being considered a coward, but the violence, the real violence, can't be escaped, at least not by us, born in Latin America in the 1950s, those of us who were around 20 years old when Salvador Allende died."

Set in the Chilean exile diaspora of Latin America and Europe, and peopled by Bolaño's beloved "failed generation," the stories of Last Evenings on Earth have appeared in The New Yorker and Grand Street.

Review:

"I am addicted to the haze that floats above Bolaño's fiction." Wayne Kostenbaum

Review:

"The most influential and admired novelist of his generation in the Spanish-speaking world."Bookforum

Review:

"Just behind the nervy, deadpan narrative a total breakdown perpetually looms." Susan Sontag

Review:

"Brilliant. Village Voice

Review:

"Widely known in the Spanish-speaking world as the premier writer of his generation." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

The first short-story collection in English by the acclaimed Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. Winner of a 2005 PEN Translation Fund Award.

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 New Directions translations of Roberto Bolaño. A poet who lives and teaches in Australia, he has translated eight Bolaño books and three novels by César Aira for New Directions.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Jester, June 2, 2007 (view all comments by Jester)
These short stories are strangely straightforward and lifelike, tracking relationships that are here and gone, dreamlike, occasionally nightmarish.
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(14 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
sharif78, May 20, 2007 (view all comments by sharif78)
We never stop reading, although every book comes to an end, just as we never stop living, although death is certain.

I dig Latin American writers, maybe it is the underlying socialist, post colonial theme or maybe the unconventional styles, once in a while there will be some writers that I cannot ignore. Roberto Bola?o, a Chilean novelist and poet is one of those writers. There is a recent surge of interest in his works due to English translations. He lived most of his life as nomad and this theme shows up in Last Evenings on Earth, a collection of 14 short stories wonderfully translated from Spanish by Chris Andrews. The horrors of Pinochet regime, loneliness of the Chilean exiles in Europe are some other concurrent themes.

Another interesting aspect of these stories is the characters that describe their literary tastes. We get to know, a writer, simply called B, aimlessly traveling in Mexico and Spain, who is obsessed with European and obscure Latin American writers. Here you can read the story Dance cards, from the collection on its entirety. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2003 at the age of 50.
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(8 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
Edward, April 1, 2007 (view all comments by Edward)
A great collection of short stories. I discovered Bolano in March 2007 Beliver magazine and upon reading this translation I have not been disappointed. If you have ever received a refusal letter from a publisher, if you have ever chased a beloved author, or if you have ever experienced the great debate that only gorgeously written prose can offer-- then you must read this 1st person narrative delight. A splendid read!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780811216883
Author:
Bolano, Roberto
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Translator:
Andrews, Chris
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Chile
Subject:
Exiles
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Short stories
Subject:
Exiles - Chile
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20070430
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8 x 5 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Last Evenings on Earth Used Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages New Directions Publishing Corporation - English 9780811216883 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

When he died in 2003, at the age of 50, Roberto Bolaño was all but unknown anywhere north of the Rio Grande, yet he is now acclaimed internationally and considered among the most eminent figures in Latin American letters. Chilean by birth, but living in exile throughout much of his life, Bolaño had always been a dedicated writer, yet began publishing with increasing fervor in the mid-1990s. Like much of his work, including the incomparable epic The Savage Detectives, Last Evenings on Earth is a bold, singular effort that defies easy classification. Many of the fourteen stories contained in Last Evenings are incisive, yet existentially enigmatic, tales of writers longing to discover the elusive answers to questions of craft and self, some of which turn out to be ambiguous at best. Often somber, even haunting, these short stories unfurl in the low-lit peripheries of prescience and immediacy that Bolaño most likely knew all too well.

"Review" by , "I am addicted to the haze that floats above Bolaño's fiction."
"Review" by , "The most influential and admired novelist of his generation in the Spanish-speaking world."
"Review" by , "Just behind the nervy, deadpan narrative a total breakdown perpetually looms."
"Review" by , "Brilliant.
"Review" by , "Widely known in the Spanish-speaking world as the premier writer of his generation."
"Synopsis" by , The first short-story collection in English by the acclaimed Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. Winner of a 2005 PEN Translation Fund Award.
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