Synopses & Reviews
Begun in the 1980s and worked on until the authors death in 2003, Woes of the True Policeman
is Roberto Bolaños last, unfinished novel.
The novel follows Óscar Amalfitano—an exiled Chilean university professor and widower—through the maze of his revolutionary past, his relationship with his teenage daughter, Rosa, his passion for a former student, and his retreat from scandal in Barcelona.
Forced to leave Barcelona for Santa Teresa, a Mexican city close to the U.S. border where women are being killed in unprecedented numbers, Amalfitano soon begins an affair with Castillo, a young forger of Larry Rivers paintings. Meanwhile, Rosa, Amalfitanos daughter, engages in her own epistolary romance with a basketball player from Barcelona, while still trying to cope with her mothers early death and her fathers secrets. After finding Castillo in bed with her father, Rosa is forced to confront her own crisis. What follows is an intimate police investigation of Amalfitano that involves a series of dark twists, culminating in a finale full of euphoria and heartbreak.
Featuring characters and stories from his other books, Woes of the True Policeman invites the reader more than ever into the world of Roberto Bolaño. It is an exciting, kaleidoscopic novel, lyrical and intense, yet darkly humorous. Exploring the roots of memory and the limits of art, Woes of the True Policeman marks the culmination of one of the great careers of world literature.
"In his incomplete final novel, BolaÃƒÂ±o (2666) begins with Amalfitano, a 50-year-old philosophy professor at the University of Barcelona, who loses his position after he's accused of having an affair with one of his male students. With his adolescent daughter, Rosa, he decides to move to Santa Teresa, a Mexican border town, where he finds a new teaching position at the local university. There he becomes friendly with an artist named Castillo, who makes a living forging Larry Rivers paintings to sell to gullible Texan art lovers. From here, the narrative splinters as BolaÃƒÂ±o details Rosa's tours of Santa Teresa, itemizes the literary career of the novelist J.M.G. Arcimboldi, and delves into the backstory of the Santa Teresa detective charged with shadowing Amalfitano. Throughout, the professor maintains a correspondence with his former lover, Padilla, who in time confesses that he has AIDS. Began in the 1980s, this novel never really comes together to form a cohesive whole. Dedicated to both Manuel Puig and Philip K. Dick, the book veers close to the latter's habitual sense of dislocation. It may be best enjoyed by fans of the late author's work who appreciate his iconoclastic takes on literary standard-bearers. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“The most significant Latin American literary voice of his generation.”—The New York Times Book Review
“One of our greatest writers...Latin American letters (wherever it may reside) has never had a greater, more disturbing avenging angel than Bolaño.”—Junot Díaz, The New York Times Book Review
Praise for Woes of the True Policeman:
“The writing never feels stale but, rather incredibly, shines anew....The publication of a Bolaño novel, complete or not, is never anything less than an event of language and devilish wit.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Bolaños voice demands attention.”—The New Yorker “Bolaño [seems] to come from an understanding that people are portholes; that a creation can represent singular space that otherwise would go unknown....He allows the novel to vibrate through its box.”—Vice
“Indelible Bolaño...[Woes of the True Policeman] may offer insight into the writers larger project.”—Los Angeles Times
“Full of delights...like watching a master magician unpacking his bag of tricks.”—The New Orleans Times-Picayune
Begun in the 1980s and worked on until the authors death in 2003, Woes of the True Policeman is Roberto Bolaños last, unfinished, novel.
The novel follows Amalfitano—exiled Chilean university professor and widower with a teenage daughter—as his political disillusionment and love of poetry lead to the scandal that will force him to flee from Barcelona and take him to Santa Teresa, Mexico. It is here, in this border town—haunted by dark tales of murdered women and populated by characters like Sorcha, who fought in the Andalusia Blue Division in the Spanish Civil War, and Castillo, who makes his living selling his forgeries of Larry Rivers paintings to wealthy Texans—that Amalfitano meets Arcimboldi, a magician and writer whose work highlights the provisional and fragile nature of literature and life.
Woes of the True Policeman is an exciting, kaleidoscopic novel, lyrical and intense yet darkly humorous. Exploring the roots of memory and the limits of art, it marks the culmination of one of the great careers of world literature.
Author of The Savage Detectives
Crushed by a devastating scandal, university professor Óscar Amalfitano flees Barcelona for Santa Teresa—a Mexican city close to the U.S. border, where women are being killed in staggering numbers. There, Amalfitano begins an affair with Castillo, a young forger of Larry Rivers paintings, while his daughter, Rosa, reeling from the weight of his secrets, seeks solace in a romance of her own. Yet when she finds her father in bed with Castillo, Rosa is confronted with the full force of her crisis.
What follows is an intimate police investigation of Amalfitano, leading to a finale of euphoria and heartbreak. Featuring characters and stories from The Savage Detectives and 2666, Roberto Bolaño's Woes of the True Policeman mines the depths of art, memory, and desire—and marks the culmination of one of the great careers of world literature.
About the Author
Roberto Bolaño was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He grew up in Chile and Mexico City, where he was a founder of the Infrarealist poetry movement. He is the author of The Savage Detectives, which received the Herralde Prize and the Rómulo Gallegos Prize, and 2666, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Bolaño died in Blanes, Spain, at the age of fifty.