A Little Lumpen Novelita
Now I am a mother and a married woman, but not long ago I led a life of crime': so Bianca begins her tale of growing up the hard way in Rome in A Little Lumpen Novelita.
Orphaned overnight as a teenager - 'our parents died in a car crash on their first vacation without us' - she drops out of school, gets a crappy job, sees a terrible brightness at night, and drifts into bad company. Her little brother brings home two petty criminals who need a place to stay. As the four of them share the family apartment and plot a strange crime, Bianca learns she can drift lower . . .
Electric and tense with foreboding, with its jagged, propulsive short chapters beautifully translated by Natasha Wimmer, A Little Lumpen Novelita - one of the last novels Roberto Bolaño published - delivers a surprising, fractured fairy tale of taking control of one's fate.
As for Bolaño, what can one say? One of our greatest writers, a straight colossus
One of the best books of the year - A Little Lumpen Novelita feels as substantial as a book three times as long . . . This is a glittering gem, as maddening and haunting as you'd expect from Bolaño
Gabe Habash, Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A Little Lumpen Novelita, while short, is among Bolano's most intoxicating works. Obsessive and ambiguous, its open-ended nature is reflective not only of the protagonist but of the author himself. And it further cements him as a master of the form, of any form
Juan Vidal, NPR