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 ?


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. parrish
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 09:29:56

    Yes read this & as the forerunner, It’s a fantastic glimpse of the mans style & the start of the threads he will weave throughout his work, including his poetry. When I posted on this I said something along the lines that you can see the writer he will become in this, also it reminded me of “The Grove” by Akutagawa, next for me is Monsieur Pai.


  2. A Damned Conjuror
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 10:56:02

    Got it from the library but never had a chance to read it.

    Amulet is quite good, have you read By Night in Chile?


  3. Sarah
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 22:02:52

    Thank you for reminding me that I need to read more Bolano. Which one would you recommend to follow 2666?


  4. Rise
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 05:29:59

    Stu, I share your observations on this surprisingly character-driven crime book. Or anti-crime novel, maybe. He seemed to have a unique idea of the “detective” .


  5. savidgereads
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 18:13:03

    I was asking about Bolano in my secretly hidden ‘books incoming’ post on the blog today and so am really pleased to now find this review as I play blog catch up. I have wondered if he would be my cup of tea and it seems that he might so I shall have to give this one a read, plus a shorter book can sometimes be the best introduction to an author I find.


  6. Richard
    Jul 04, 2011 @ 02:24:07

    Stu, I liked the three narrators approach myself even though I think most of Bolaño’s other novels are more daring than this one. Amulet has a couple of devices I really liked (won’t mention them here so as not to spoil the surprise for you), so I look forward to seeing what you make of it. Of course, I’ve yet to run into a bad Bolaño myself (other than maybe The Third Reich, which was only OK, and not published with Bolaño’s consent during his lifetime anyway).


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