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The Spirit of Science Fiction


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A newly discovered novel from the master author of 2666 and The Savage Detectives: a story about becoming a writer, and coming of age in the realms of sex and love.

About the Author

Roberto Bolano was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He grew up in Chile and Mexico City. He is the author of The Savage Detectives, which received the Herralde Prize and the Romulo Gallegos Prize, and 2666, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He died in Blanes, Spain, at the age of fifty.


Admirers will find . . . a satisfying proleptic glimpse of his picaresque masterpiece, 1998's The Savage Detectives . . . [This] gem-choked puzzle of a book . . . serves as a key to Bolano's later work, unlocking clues to his abiding obsessions ... [and] is a hardy forerunner that stands on its own. * New York Times *
The book's very premise - two young poets drift around the literary underworld of Mexico City - reads like a dress rehearsal for The Savage Detectives, similarly soaked in poetry, disillusion, and longing. The novel is dappled with recognizably Bolanan pleasures, though they are mostly incidental. What The Spirit of Science Fiction offers most is the tingle of the nascent. It allows us to perceive the avalanche in the snowball before it rolls downhill. * Paris Review *
Bolano-philes will relish this glimpse into the conflicting facets of their hero's personality, but the book is more than an autobiographical curio. It brings the Mexico City of the Seventies to life . . . The novel's sunny sense of what it is like to be a young man falling in love - with words and ideas as well as with women - is irresistible. * Telegraph *
The Spirit of Science Fiction is structured unconventionally, enticing the reader to solve its mysteries. Bolano adroitly braids three related narratives . . . an entertaining, lyrical and accomplished novel. * Wall Street Journal *
[A] gem . . . Bolano's lusty, laughing passion for art and literature, for women and Mexico City, is tangible here. * Washington Post *
Self help for bookworms . . . The Spirit of Science Fiction contains moments of brilliance and will satisfy Bolano devotees. * El Mundo *
An intriguing and dreamy portrait of two writers taking different paths in their pursuit of their love of literature, hoping to discover their voices. * Publishers Weekly *
As well as being a novel about becoming a writer, it's also about initiation into the world of sex and love. The Spirit of Science Fiction shows, like few other novels written in the Spanish language, the pain, the difficulty, the angst of the young man faced with what Henry Miller, called aptly "the world of sex". May the archive of Roberto Bolano's work never close. -- Christopher Dominguez Michael

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