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New Directions Spring 2016

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A Little Lumpen Novelita
By (author): Roberto Bolano Translated by: Natasha Wimmer
9780811225151 Paperback, Trade English FICTION / Literary Mar 31, 2016
$20.95 CAD
Active 5.4 x 8 x 0.4 in 128 pages New Directions Publishing New Directions
Now I am a mother and a married woman, but not long ago I led a life of crime": so Bianca begins her tale of growing up the hard way in Rome. Orphaned overnight as a teenager - "our parents died in a car crash on their first vacation without us" - she drops out of school, gets a crappy job, and drifts into bad company. Her younger brother brings home two petty criminals who need a place to stay. As the four of them share the family apartment and plot a strange crime, Bianca learns how low she can fall. Electric, tense with foreboding, and written in jagged, propulsive chapters, A Little Lumpen Novelita delivers a surprising, fractured fable of seizing control of one's fate. "

Author of 2666 and many other acclaimed works, Roberto Bolano (1953-2003) was born in Santiago, Chile, and later lived in Mexico, Paris, and Spain. He has been acclaimed by far the most exciting writer to come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time" (Ilan Stavans, The Los Angeles Times)," and as "the real thing and the rarest" (Susan Sontag). Among his many prizes are the extremely prestigious Herralde de Novela Award and the Premio Romulo Gallegos. He was widely considered to be thegreatest Latin American writer of his generation. He wrote nine novels, two story collections, and five books of poetry, before dying in July 2003 at the age of 50. Natasha Wimmer's translation of Roberto Bolano's 2666 won the National Book Award's Best Novel of the Year as well as the PEN Prize."

A Little Lumpen Novelita, while short, is among Bolano's most intoxicating works. Obsessive and ambiguous, its open-ended nature is reflective not only of the protagonist but of the author himself. And it further cements him as a master of the form, of any form. One of the best books of the year - A Little Lumpen Novelita feels as substantial as a book three times as long... . This is a glittering gem, as maddening and haunting as you'd expect from Bolano. A Little Lumpen Novelita may be Bolano's best trick, and greatest gift, ever. As for Bolano, what can one say? One of our greatest writers, a straight colossus.

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