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The Skating Rink [Paperback]

Roberto Bolano
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

3 Jun 2011

‘Gripping, easy to read, sometimes funny and extraordinarily romantic . . . High praise’ Independent on Sunday

When Nuria Martí, the beautiful Spanish figure skater, is suddenly dropped from the Olympic team, a besotted admirer builds a secret ice rink for her in the ruins of an old mansion on the outskirts of their seaside town. What he doesn’t tell her is that he paid for it using embezzled public funds. Such deceit is not without repercussions, and the skating rink soon becomes a crime scene . . .

Rife with political corruption, sex, jealousy and frustrated passion, The Skating Rink – narrated in turn by a corrupt and pompous civil servant, a beleaguered romantic poet, and a duplicitous local entrepreneur – is a darkly atmospheric tale of murder and its motives.

‘This magnificent murder mystery . . . is wrought with voices of great urgency and yet penned with a delectable lightness of touch’ List

‘Elegant, elusive and amusing, this novel is more than capable of standing alongside the rest of Bolaño’s work’ Daily Telegraph


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (3 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330510533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330510530
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 266,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roberto Bolaño was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He spent much of his adult life in Mexico and in Spain, where he died at the age of fifty. His novel The Savage Detectives was named as one of the ten best books of 2007 by the Washington Post and the New York Times Book Review. His posthumous masterpiece, 2666, won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Product Description

Review

'Narrated by a civil servant, a romantic poet and a local entrepreneur, this Catalan drama sizzles with unrequited love and murderous ambition.' --Independent

Book Description

Rife with political corruption, sex, jealousy and frustrated passion, The Skating Rink is a darkly atmospheric chronicle of one summer season in the seaside town of Z, on the Costa Brava, north of Barcelona. The story revolves around the beautiful figure skating champion Nuria Martí. When she is suddenly dropped from the Olympic team a besotted admirer builds a secret ice rink for her in the ruins of an old mansion on the outskirts of town. What he doesn’t tell her is that he paid for it using embezzled public funds; but such a betrayal is only the beginning and the skating rink soon becomes a crime scene . . . Told in short suspenseful chapters by three alternating male narrators – a corrupt and pompous civil servant, a beleaguered, yet still romantic, itinerant poet, and a duplicitous local entrepreneur – The Skating Rink is a wholly engrossing tale of murder and its motives. ‘This short exquisite novel . . . manages to honor genre conventions while simultaneously exploding them, creating a work of intense and unrealized longing.’ New York Times ‘Bolaño writes with such elegance, verve and style and is immensely readable’ Guardian ‘His fiction was hallucinatory, haunting and experimental’ Times Literary Supplement ‘Bolaño has come close to re-imagining the novel’ Independent ‘His work is as vital, thrilling and life-enhancing as anything in modern fiction’ Sunday Times ‘Bolaño has proved [literature] can do anything’ Scotsman ‘[Bolaño] made each book more ambitious so that it will take us many years to come to terms with his vast achievement’ Colm Tóibín ‘He has the natural storyteller’s gift – but more important, he has the power to lend an extraordinary glamour to the activities of making love and making poetry’ Edmund White ‘Bolaño was one of those rare writers who write for a future time, and we, especially we in the Anglophone world, have only begun to appreciate his strange, oblique genius’ John Banville ‘Readers who have snacked on a writer such as Haruki Murakami will feast on Roberto Bolaño’ Sunday Times ‘It’s no exaggeration to call Bolaño a genius’ Washington Post ‘Bolaño makes you feel changed for having read him; he adjusts your angle of vision on the world’ Guardian --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The SKATING RINK 31 Aug 2012
Format:Hardcover
The Skating rink is told through the successive narratives of three male characters, one a corrupt petty Gov't official, one a small town entrepreneur and the third a poet (the Bolano Character). The plot, as do the male characters, circle around a beautiful professional figure skater called Nuria, who has lost her place on the Spanish national team & in the process her training venue. The Gov't official obsessed with Nuria, steps in to save the day & with delusions of heroic worth, diverts Gov't money to fund the building of a secret skating rink in an abandoned villa, high up on the coast. Of all the novels by Bolano this is the closest to an out and out crime story, although seen through the lens of this particular writer, there is a murder, there are signposts alerting you along the way (the outline of a knife visible through clothing, the mental instability of one the characters etc.), and, although the murder is solved, when the body is found about two-thirds of the way through the book, it is almost an after thought. In this book there is no Detective, sleuthing away, the crime is mundane, an occurrence, there is no cry for justice, this is all about implication, or how to avoid it. The three men are not bothered by who has died, or how, just how it affects their lives. There's no honour here, no heroism that's not sullied by self interest, or self regard. So although this book features a death, someone is actually murdered, this merely acts as a spotlight onto the characters, making The Skating Rink a Detective tale where the crime is secondary to the protagonists involved. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect starting point for reading Bolano 23 Sep 2011
By I Readalot TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
The Skating Rink is one of Bolano's more accessible novels and a perfect place to start if you have never read him before. The story evolves in short chapters, although each chapter is written as one paragraph - I think the longest lasted for 8 pages - but long paragraphs are a trademark of Bolano's writing. It is told through the eyes of 3 characters, a civil servant, a local entrepeneur and a poet during one summer on the Costa Brava. It is a perfectly plotted literary tale of corruption and murder, full of suspense and I ended up reading it in one sitting. Anyone who enjoys beautiful, poetic writing should try Bolano. If you have been put of this author by reading 2666, undoubtedly his most difficult novel, then give him another chance with this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 6 May 2011
By saran
Format:Hardcover
This book does in a way differ from much of Bolaño's other work, but it is hard to explain exactly why. It is fully set in a small town in Spain, not something huge like Mexico City or other places you might be used to if you've read a few of his books. The way this one is narrrated by three different characters work very well, and it keeps the excitement high throughout the novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting 29 April 2010
By M. Dowden HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Once again Bolano shows how he could mix genres creating a tale that is truly multi-layered. This book is written in short chapters by three different male voices. You have Enric Rosquelles, an official in the town municipality, Remo Moran, an immigrant businesman, and Gaspar Heredia, an immigrant who has outstayed his visa. Through their voices we find out more about the seaside town of Z on the Costa Brava, and some of the inhabitants.

Coming back into the town is the beautiful Nuria Marti, an Olympic figure skater who is suddenly dropped by the team. In unexpected ways the three men revolve around her in differing degrees. Enric syphons off funds from the council to build her an ice rink in the former swimming pool of a disused mansion. But things start to alter when a dead body turns up on the ice rink. Enric is arrested for murder and embezzling, but is he the murderer?

Through a host of bizarre characters we eventually find out all the threads of the story, which takes in obsession, jealousy, corruption, immigration, blackmail, romance and murder. The whole setting feels slightly surreal, but we do get a feeling what life is like for immigrants and how small seaside towns change through the seasons.

As usual with all of Bolano's works you are made to think whilst reading and the story remains with you long afterwards. If you have never read any of his books before then this probably isn't the best one to start with, although it is very rewarding. If you are a Bolano fan then you should really have this book in your collection.
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By madamR
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even so book was quite good an interesting to read I have given rating of 3 stars purely relative to other Bolano works that I have read which are outstanding
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