Roberto Bolaño is one of my five Permanent Writers, which means that he holds an esteemed, unchanging place amongst the writers I admire the most. Thus, I have read most of his books many times, but I had never before read The Return. So what is it?
It’s a collection of short stories, and they are not particularly thematically grouped. Rather, they come from two Spanish-language collections, Llamadas telefónicas and Putas asesinas. If you know and like Bolaño then these stories are for you – but it’s not a good place to start. Read Distant Star, I would say.
From this collection I liked The Return, Snow and Another Russian Tale. Clara was also very good. These stories (and others in the collection) were interesting to me because they often seemed to be precursors for larger, more important works, in much the way that a small section in The Savage Detectives became an entire book in Amulet, or the end piece of Nazi Literature in the Americas became the masterpiece Distant Star.
And, yes, sadly, there was an 8 day gap between reading the previous book and this one. I blame, I suppose, work, but really it was my fault – not again!
The Books, Read page contains a list of all of the books I have read this year.