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There he found three young neo-Nazis and a bundle on the ground. Soto froze on the threshold until he realized that the bundle was moving, when he saw first a hand and then an incredibly dirty arm emerging from the rags. Perhaps his eyes filled with tears, tears of self-pity, because something told him he had met his destiny. A quick comparison turned up few significant differences between it and the original, “The Infamous Ramírez Hoffman”, the name of the final chapter from Nazi Literature In the Americas.
I am not arguing the story’s veracity, just its malleability.
Distant Star tests the limits of how much an author reveals and how much he leaves to his reader’s imagination.
Last weekend eight or ten books by Roberto Bolaño fell off a bookstore shelf and landed on my head. But the not so subtle point was made that it was way past time for me to read Bolaño.
And so I picked-up a copy of Distant Star, shelved the rest and went home to read.
Ruiz-Tagle, we eventually learn his real name is Carlos Wieder, becomes a life-long obsession for our narrator.
He is the bogeyman at the center of the novel – tied to random acts of terror perpetrated by the Pinochet regime.The following weekend I went back for Nazi Literature In the Americas.Distant Star began life as the final chapter of Nazi Literature in the Americas.Chris Andrews’ name on a book is a better endorsement, to my mind, than an author blurb.But there’s more to Distant Star than a prose style marked by its brutal clarity or a challenging and engaging plot. Bolaño develops his ideas in unusual ways and does so without pretension.Primarily set in Chile and beginning in the year 1971 – two years before the military coup which unseated then President Allende and put General Augusto Pinochet in power for the next twenty-five years – Bolaño renders a tumultuous period in Chilean history for readers.Events are described by a first person narrator; a struggling Chilean poet* who recalls how he spent the years leading up to the coup attending poetry workshops with his best friend Bibiano.Because of the time and the weather (it was winter), the station was almost empty despite the fact that the a.m. Most people were in the bar or the main waiting room.Soto, for some reason, perhaps he heard voices, went to look in another room, some way off. But no one was listening, no one except the Chilean writer.Years could pass before families learned the truth about what happened.Sometimes the missing were released from prison; or (happily) it’s revealed that they joined the revolution and went underground; or their remains are discovered in a mass grave.