The Return

Roberto Bolaño

Translated by Chris Andrews
11 September 2014
208 pages


One of the remarkable qualities of Roberto Bolaño's short stories is that they seem to tell what Bolaño called 'the secret story', 'the one we'll never know'. The Return contains thirteen unforgettable tales bent on returning to haunt you.

Wide-ranging, suggestive, and daring, a Bolaño story is just as likely to concern the unexpected fate of a beautiful ex-girlfriend, the history of a porn star or two embittered police detectives debating their favourite weapons: his plots go anywhere and everywhere and they always surprise. Consider the title piece: a young party animal collapses in a Parisian disco and dies on the dance floor; just as his soul is departing his body, it realizes strange doings are afoot - and what follows next defies the imagination (except Bolaño's own, of course).

This treasure trove of disquieting short master-works from the giant of Latin American literature perfectly encapsulates 'the fact that Bolaño writes with such elegance, verve and style and is so immensely readable' (Guardian).