CHILE: By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolaño

Roberto Bolaño’s By Night in Chile is a slim novel, intriguingly set as a disjointed stream of consciousness of a dying priest. However, it is thick with Chilean history (I’m glad I finished The Chile Reader first) and with deep symbolism. The priest’s ramblings recount his life as a failed poet and successful literary critic through the mid-century and into the Pinochet regime and after. The little vignettes in the novel seem to give scenes of haughty art intelligentsias, trips to Europe to study church restoration and falconry, and unpleasant surprises at soirees, but they build up to an incredible portrait of cowardice, inaction, and self-justification in the face of evil.

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