Woes of the True Policeman by Roberto Bolaño

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The publication of a Bolaño novel, complete or not, is never anything less than an event of language and devilish wit.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

Begun in the 1980s and worked on until the author's death in 2003, Woes of the True Policeman is Roberto Bolaño's last, unfinished novel.

The novel follows Óscar Amalfitano—an exiled Chilean university professor and widower—through the maze of his revolutionary past, his relationship with his teenage daughter, Rosa, his passion for a former student, and his retreat from scandal in Barcelona.

Forced to leave Barcelona for Santa Teresa, a Mexican city close to the U.S. border where women are being killed in unprecedented numbers, Amalfitano soon begins an affair with Castillo, a young forger of Larry Rivers paintings. Meanwhile, Rosa, Amalfitano's daughter, engages in her own epistolary romance with a basketball player from Barcelona, while still trying to cope with her mother's early death and her father's secrets. After finding Castillo in bed with her father, Rosa is forced to confront her own crisis. What follows is an intimate police investigation of Amalfitano that involves a series of dark twists, culminating in a finale full of euphoria and heartbreak.
Featuring characters and stories from his other books, Woes of the True Policeman invites the reader more than ever into the world of Roberto Bolaño. It is an exciting, kaleidoscopic novel, lyrical and intense, yet darkly humorous. Exploring the roots of memory and the limits of art, Woes of the True Policeman marks the culmination of one of the great careers of world literature.

 

About Roberto Bolaño

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Author of 2666 and many other acclaimed works, Roberto Bolaño (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 Rómulo Gallegos. He was widely considered to be the greatest 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. The poet Chris Andrews has translated many books by Roberto Bolaño and César Aira for New Directions.
 
Published November 13, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 257 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Woes of the True Policeman
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Thomas Chatterton Williams on Nov 16 2012

The publication of a Bolaño novel, complete or not, is never anything less than an event of language and devilish wit.

Read Full Review of Woes of the True Policeman | See more reviews from WSJ online

Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Michel Basilieres on Dec 24 2012

The people, the places and the events are fully imagined and deftly realized, even if to no end.

Read Full Review of Woes of the True Policeman | See more reviews from Toronto Star

LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Jacob Silverman on Nov 15 2012

Bolaño reportedly began working on this novel in the 1980s, but the book reads like a side project that never earned his full attention.

Read Full Review of Woes of the True Policeman | See more reviews from LA Times

Reader Rating for Woes of the True Policeman
83%

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