04 January 2010

The Year of Tiger Bolaño

Six years after Bolaño's death, he remains as alive as ever. B is not so dead this year, not by a long shot. Tiger Bolaño continues to growl from the grave with his red hot words. And he’s like metal in publishing nowadays. The lot of books coming out this year is proof of his increasing, spreading, and enduring appeal to worldwide readers.

A reason to expand our wish list

2010 brings into print a harvest of Bolaño books. At least 4 books in English translations and one more posthumous book in Spanish are coming out. The new English translations will be released by the publisher New Directions. New editions of his previous books will also be available and excerpts of his unpublished works are appearing in literary magazines and journals.

Here’s a timeline:


New Directions Publishing will bring out Monsieur Pain, translated from Spanish by Chris Andrews.

El tercer Reich (“The Third Reich”), a book discovered among Bolaño’s papers after his death, will be published in original Spanish by Anagrama in Spain and by Vintage Español in the US on March. English readers will have to wait for a translation until January of next year. According to Natasha Wimmer, who is set to translate the book, it’s about “an elaborate board game called “The Third Reich” (Bolaño was a great fan of war games) [and] it takes place on the Costa Brava ...”

Also, Nazi Literature in the Americas will be reissued by Picador.


In March, the Spanish novel El tercer Reich is published in the US via Vintage Español.

The first of the three poems in Tres appears in the March issue of the web journal Words Without Borders. Bolaño considers Tres to be one of his two best books. The poem in question is “Tales from the Autumn in Gerona.” According to its two translators, it’s a fantastic sequence of prose poems. Erica Mena’s translation is the one that will appear in the magazine, though Laura Healy (the translator of The Romantic Dogs) has also prepared a translation of the book.

Extracts of Tres in Spanish can be found here and here.


Antwerp, a poetic novella, is coming out in April. Translated by Natasha Wimmer, this book was first published in Spanish (Amberes) in 2002 but was actually written in 1980. It is probably the earliest novel written by B.

From Cantos, the blog of New Directions: “Bolaño’s friend and literary executor, Ignacio Echevarria, once suggested [that] Antwerp can be viewed as the Big Bang of Roberto Bolaño’s fictional universe. From this springboard – which Bolaño chose to publish in 2002, twenty years after he’d written in – as if testing out a high dive, he would plunge into the unexplored depths of the modern novel.” Antwerp is excerpted in the Fall 2009 issue of Conjunctions.


The 13-short story collection The Return is slated for publication in July. This book presumably contains stories from Llamadas telefonicas and Putas asesinas that were not included in Last Evenings on Earth. The translation is by Chris Andrews. It’s being called "The Return" now. The publisher will most likely not adopt the Spanish title Assassin Whores.


The English of El gaucho insufrible (“The Insufferable Gaucho”) is originally set to appear in August. But most likely the publication will be moved to a later date as The Return was moved from June to July. The posthumous book (as published in its original Spanish edition) is an anthology of 5 short stories, mostly set in Argentina, plus two essays. Chris Andrews translates this too.


Picador reissues The Skating Rink.

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