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Publisher Description

A chilling novel about the nightmare of a corrupt and brutal dictatorship.

The star of Roberto Bolano's hair-raising novel Distant Star is Alberto Ruiz-Tagle, an air force pilot who exploits the 1973 coup to launch his own version of the New Chilean Poetry, a multimedia enterprise involving sky-writing, poetry, torture, and photo exhibitions.

For our unnamed narrator, who first encounters this "star" in a college poetry workshop, Ruiz-Tagle becomes the silent hand behind every evil act in the darkness of Pinochet's regime. The narrator, unable to stop himself, tries to track Ruiz-Tagle down, and sees signs of his activity over and over again. A corrosive, mocking humor sparkles within Bolano's darkest visions of Chile under Pinochet. In Bolano's world there's a big graveyard and there's a big graveyard laugh. (He once described his novel By Night in Chile as "a tale of terror, a situation comedy, and a combination pastoral-gothic novel.")

Many Chilean authors have written about the "bloody events of the early Pinochet years, the abductions and murders," Richard Eder commented in the The New York Times: "None has done it in so dark and glittering a fashion as Roberto Bolano."

Fiction & Literature
December 17
New Directions
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Customer Reviews

lazarillo de tucson ,


Stunning and memorable.

Lizasarusrex ,

Distant star

Distant Star by Roberto Bolano

What is the book about?

Distant star starts off around the time of Pinochet's bloody 1973 coup and continues until the 1990's. The unnamed narrator, who I presume to be Arturo B. which is briefly mentioned in the preface, is so busy with Chilean poetry that he is completely taken back with surprise when many students are arrested, killed, or missing in the coup. He has taken a sudden and obsessive interest in a poet named Alberto-Ruiz Tangle who turns out to be an Officer of the Air Forcer named Carlos Wieder. The narrator begins some intense detective work, with the help of his friends, to find the answers he is looking for.

What is the book about?

I love a good horrific and violent book and this book is exactly that. Although the writing style reminds me of Juan Rulfo, who isn't my favorite, I can certainly see the appeal and value it for it's worth. It's a quick 150 page read that is unique and violent in it's own specific way.

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