The skating rink by Roberto Bolano

Source – library

Translator – Chris Andrews

Roberto Bolano the late Chilean writer,wrote this book in1993 and it was his first novel published and was translated into english in 2009 by Chris Andrews .

The book is a book about a murder ,a short of detective book with out a detective ,like his other books Bolano has chosen to use different narrators to tell the story ,it is set in the costa brava region of Spain in the small town of Z .A skater is dropped from the olympic team ,a rich man builds her a rink in an abadoned house  using stolen funds from local council .all the three narrators have contact with Nuria ,Remo ,a poet turned novelist (maybe a veiled cover of Bolano himself ),Gaspar another poet turned night watchman ,Eneric  overweight public official in social services section, these three men give statements in turn to the detective looking into the murder .there is a lot of  finger point during this .

Unfortunately after dinner ,Pillar insisted that we go to a disco ;she suddenly felt like dancing with her husband ,something they hadn’t done for a long time ,and everyone thoughtit was a wonderful idea .Except me .I should have grabbed Nuria and made my getaway right then ,but I thought she deserved a bit of fun .My big mistake ,of course ,was not forseeing that someone would bring up the subject of skating .Nuria’s presence

Enric Rosquelles talking about a night out .

As ever Bolano suprises ,every time I read his books I find connections to his other books but also something new .Now using the three narrators  from in some ways similar beginings that  end up with vastly different routes in life  ,drives the story as we jump from each like athe story of three blind men describing a elphant as we move through each narration we learn something not the whole picture but a glimpse  of the truth of what has happened and what is happening ,as the layers are peeled away we   are lead to the killer ,but also it shows about how competive sport can be via the character of Nuria ,also we learn about corruption and missuse of funds as they are blundered to build the secret olympic ice rink  ,something that happens all over the world .I like this much more than Monsieur Pain which was the last Bolano I had read .I felt it was maybe a early runnning of ideas he would use in Savaage detectives such as  poets mutiple strands and voices ,also a crime .I like the fact that it is a crime book where the crime is secondary to the actual people in the story As this was his début in Spanish it is quite a book .I’ve Amulet next up from him

Have you read this ?

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June 2011
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