- BY NIGHT IN CHILE
- Bolaño, Roberto
- NEW DIRECTIONS
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 novelRoberto Bolaño’s first work available in Englishrecounts 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 Jünger. 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 assignedafter the destruction of Allendethe 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.
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