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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More For Fans?
Found amongst Bolano's papers after his death this book came to life. Written in 1989 the story takes place at about that period. We know that Bolano had done some work on this after his first draft but whether he had intended to carry on editing with plans for publishing it in his lifetime is unclear. Looking at other reviews of Bolano's work on this site, and the...
Published on 28 Feb 2012 by M. Dowden

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting transitional work
In spite of the cover's claim that 'The Third Reich' is Roberto Bolaño's "first new novel since the epic '2666'", the book was written in 1989, but remained unpublished in any language until 2010, seven years after the author's death. As such, it occupies an intermediate position between the short early novellas 'Antwerp' and 'Monsieur Pain' and the more mature and...
Published 23 months ago by Paul Bowes


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting transitional work, 20 May 2012
By 
Paul Bowes (Wales, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Third Reich (Hardcover)
In spite of the cover's claim that 'The Third Reich' is Roberto Bolaño's "first new novel since the epic '2666'", the book was written in 1989, but remained unpublished in any language until 2010, seven years after the author's death. As such, it occupies an intermediate position between the short early novellas 'Antwerp' and 'Monsieur Pain' and the more mature and characteristic work that made Roberto Bolaño's reputation.

The main interest lies in the fact that this is an uncharacteristic and transitional work. The surreal, dreamlike violence of the early books, which returns in 'By Night in Chile' and 'Distant Star', is considerably muted. Bolaño seems here to be trying on the manner of a cooler, more generically European and frankly less interesting writer. The plot draws on much of the same material that forms the basis of the far more radical and fragmentary 'Antwerp', but expands and embeds it in a more conventional narrative concerning a young German on holiday in Spain who finds himself drawn into a series of ambiguous relationships with the locals.

At home, Udo Berger is a champion player of the military board game 'Third Reich'. Bolaño uses the game as a framework for a mystery tale that has aspirations to something more profound: a game of strategy that is also a detective story and a meditation on human identity and relationships.

I felt that the book worked reasonably well in its own terms, and admirers of Roberto Bolaño will want to read it. However, I can understand why it remained unpublished for twenty years. Whereas 'Antwerp' and 'Monsieur Pain' are sharply individual and well worth reading in their own right, 'The Third Reich' has something of the air of an exercise in the manner of the day by a writer trying out the long form and still uncertain of his strengths. There are echoes of Peter Handke and the films of Antonioni. But interesting characters are allowed to fade away: the complexities and uncertainties of the plot double and redouble without leading to any clear conclusion; and tighter editing would certainly have helped to dispel the air of repetition that sets in.

This is, admittedly, a book about uncertainty and obsession; but a reader new to Bolaño is unlikely to understand on the basis of this readable but rather uninvolving novel why the author's reputation is currently so high.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More For Fans?, 28 Feb 2012
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Third Reich (Hardcover)
Found amongst Bolano's papers after his death this book came to life. Written in 1989 the story takes place at about that period. We know that Bolano had done some work on this after his first draft but whether he had intended to carry on editing with plans for publishing it in his lifetime is unclear. Looking at other reviews of Bolano's work on this site, and the mixed reactions it has got I think that this may possibly fall into a niche more for fans than a book for everybody. It is interesting to note here though that you can see his style changing to a degree from him earlier to his later works.

Written in the style of a journal, the keeper and writer of it is Udo Berger. Berger has gone to Spain on his holiday with his attractive girlfriend, Ingeborg, to the hotel he used to stay at with his parents when he was younger. Udo is seriously into strategic war board games and has won a championship. He comes across as totally self-centred and a bit prissy, as a nerd that you really don't like that much. Making friends with a couple of other Germans on holiday, and some of the local characters we see Udo having to make time for others; after all he has come away on holiday with a board game 'Third Reich' and is intent on playing scenarios and writing up a speech to be given at a games convention.

Udo becomes entranced to some degree by El Quemado (The Burned) a nickname for a badly scarred man who hires out pedal boats and seems to live on the beach. The man from the German couple they meet goes missing in a wind surfing incident and Udo seems too wrapped up in himself to help. His relationship with Ingeborg is falling to pieces and all he seems intent on is his game. As he stays on in Spain playing 'Third Reich' with El Quemado long after he should have returned to Germany, he keeps getting more and more weird and dark dreams. With people telling him to go home he just can't seem to stop playing the board game, which he seems to be winning. By now we are already aware that this game is like that famous chess game from The Seventh Seal (50th Anniversary Special Edition) [1957] [DVD], and Udo himself suddenly starts to realise that more that winning the game is at stake.

This is something that if Bolano was still alive would have been much better polished before publication, but it still seems to pull you in and holds your interest. What I particularly like about this is the ending, it has one ending, but ultimately at least two ways of deciphering it. If you don't like Bolano's other works, then steer clear of this, otherwise for us fans it is well worth reading.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, 27 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Third Reich (Hardcover)
Even though this was purchased second hand it is a beautiful copy in a sleeve. Great service and quality product
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The Third Reich
The Third Reich by Roberto Bolano (Hardcover - 5 Jan 2012)
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