Antwerp was Roberto Bolaño’s first novel, though he chose not to publish it until 2002, more than twenty years after he’d written it.
Set amidst the seedy hotels and deserted campsites on the Costa Brava, and filled with hapless girls, failed poets, and shifty policemen, Antwerp is a short and cinematic experimental crime novel spliced together with voices from a dream, from a nightmare, from passers-by, from an omniscient narrator, from ‘Roberto Bolaño’.
Intense and irrepressible, the novel is a personal declaration of the power of literature; reading it is to be present at the birth of Bolaño’s enterprise in prose, to see the beginning, to witness the moment when his talent explodes.
A fascinating, even compulsory addition to the Bolaño fan’s bookshelf . . . the sentences whizz over your head like bullets.
It’s hard to think of a writer who has multiplied the possibilities more times than Roberto Bolaño.
Nicole Krauss, Guardian