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Amulet
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About the Author

Roberto Bolano was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He grew up in Chile and Mexico City. His first full-length novel, The Savage Detectives, won the Herralde Prize and the Romulo Gallegos Prize, and Natasha Wimmer's translation of The Savage Detectives was chosen as one of the ten best books of 2007 by the Washington Post and the New York Times. Bolano died in Blanes, Spain, at the age of fifty. Described by the New York Times as "the most significant Latin American literary voice of his generation", in 2008 he was posthumously awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for his novel 2666.

Reviews

Bolano's work fugues again and again around the confluence of fugitive literary movements and tumultuous political upheavals of '60s and '70s Mexico and Chile. Originally from Montevideo, poet Auxilio Lacouture cleans house in Mexico City for two well-known poets and hangs about the university literary scene doing odd jobs. In September 18, 1968, as the army occupies the campus, arresting and killing people, Auxilio is in the deserted bathroom stalls, obliviously reading poetry; later she becomes famous for being the only one who resists arrest that fateful day. Over years without fixed address or employment, she loses her teeth and befriends the teenage Arturo Belano. Belano eventually returns to Chile at the time of the Allende coup and is imprisoned by Pinochet-a political initiation author Bolano experienced himself. Auxilio's first-person narration serves as a medium for lost young voices of revolution, such as the elusive, limping Elena, the Catalan painter Remedios Varo, and Lilian Serpas, who claims she slept with Che Guevara. Auxilio's lyrical prophecies converge in a wrenching tribute to all the voices she has known, tinged with Bola?o's luminous pathos. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

The author of several novels, plus short stories and poetry, the Chilean-born Bola?o was a member of the iconoclastic infrarealism movement, a minor anti-magic realism movement featured in his work as visceral realism. Bola?o died prematurely three years ago of liver disease, but with the publication of these two capable translations, he seems to be achieving far greater fame posthumously than he did when alive-at least in North America. In Amulet, Uruguayan poet Auxilio Lacouture leaves her homeland in 1965 to settle permanently in Mexico, where she leads a bohemian existence-housekeeping for exiled Spanish poets Le?n Felipe and Pedro Garfias, volunteering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico's Faculty of Philosophy and Literature, and performing other odd jobs for pay at the university. She also strikes up a serious friendship with Arturo Belano (the author's alter ego) and other artists. Eventually, Auxilio gets caught up in the 1968 riots at the university, finding herself sequestered on campus for almost two weeks; the bulk of this monolog novelette recounts her ordeal as her meandering thoughts gradually move from harsh reality to a startling vision. We also come to realize that the author has been teasing us with Auxilio's opening lines about telling a horror story, which is not what we finally get. The work is short, episodic, and loosely connected, almost as if the author had several disparate elements on his plate that he wanted to make into a whole, unified by the presence of the main character. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Roberto Bolano redefined the form of the novel in his masterpiece 2666; with the hallucinatory narrative of Amulet, he reimagines what literature can become. * New Statesman *
A short, original, engaged and engaging novel; a good introduction to the longer works of this writer. * Times Literary Supplement *
Encapsulates the violence and tragedy of recent Latin American history . . . spare but beautifully compacted. * The Times *
His work is the crossroads where Marquez meets Burroughs and Borges meets Mailer, resulting in a riotous dust-up. -- John Banville * Guardia *
A curtain-raising taster to the epic of his landmark works. -- Boyd Tonkin * Independent *

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