- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (5 Jan. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330510541
- ISBN-13: 978-0330510547
- Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.1 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 630,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Third Reich Hardcover – 5 Jan 2012
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‘Bolaño writes with such elegance, verve and style and is immensely readable’ Guardian
‘Readers who have snacked on a writer such as Haruki Murakami will feast on Roberto Bolaño’ Sunday Times
Unpublished during Bolaño’s lifetime, the complete typescript of this novel – meticulously corrected by hand – was discovered after his death in 2003. This is the first English language publication.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
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 However, I can understand why it remained unpublished for twenty years.Read more ›
This is not a novel driven by plot - though it has a good story. Its driven by the atmosphere of disquiet and by Udo's descent into a psychological mess, and his involvement in things he just does not understand (and which are only obliquely apparent to the reader). This is all reflected in the weather, which deteriorates from the summer of the opening, to off-season conclusion, with the Costa Brava becoming ever less enticing. Ultimately, little happens through the whole novel, and it's the ever present sense that something big is about to occur which is so unsettling. It's a disturbing but very rewarding read.
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.Read more ›