Synopses & Reviews
A deathbed confession revolving around Opus Dei and Pinochet, By Night in Chile
pours out the self-justifying dark memories of the Jesuit priest Father Urrutia. 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 Roberto Bolaño's first work available in English 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 (to study "the disintegration of the churches," a journey into realms of the surreal); and ensnared by this plum, 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.
Heart-stopping and hypnotic, By Night in Chile marks the American debut of an astonishing writer.
"A contemporary novel destined to have a permanent place in world literature." Susan Sontag
"Mordant, haunting and sometimes elegaic...takes the reader hurtling into the darkest psychological folds of one man and one country." Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Postwar Chilean politics and literature infuse this densely learned, richly evocative novel....reminiscent of Thomas Bernhard and W.G. Sebald." New York Times Book Review
"One of the great Latin American novels, in an exemplary translation. Not to be missed." Kirkus Reviews
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.
About the Author
Roberto Bolaño was born in 1953 in Santiago, Chile, and later lived in Mexico, Paris, and Spain: he wrote nine novels, two story collections, and five books of poetry, before dying in July 2003 at the age of 50. Seven more of his books are forthcoming from New Directions.