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By Night in Chile

Narrated by: Thom Rivera
Length: 4 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A deathbed confession revolving around Opus Dei and Pinochet, By Night in Chile pours out the self-justifying dark memories of the Jesuit priest Father Urrutia.

As through a crack in the wall, By Night in Chile's single night-long rant provides a terrifying, clandestine view of the strange bedfellows of church and state in Chile. This wild, eerily compact novel - Roberto Bolaño's first work available in English - recounts the tale of a poor boy who wanted to be a poet but ends up a half-hearted Jesuit priest and conservative literary critic, a sort of lapdog to the rich and powerful cultural elite, in whose villas he encounters Pablo Neruda and Ernst Jünger.

Father Urrutia is offered a tour of Europe by agents of Opus Dei to study "the disintegration of the churches" - a journey into realms of the surreal - and, ensnared by this plum, he is next assigned, after the destruction of Allende, the secret never-to-be-disclosed job of teaching Pinochet, at night, all about Marxism, so the junta generals can know their enemy. Soon, searingly, his memories go from bad to worse.

Heart-stopping and hypnotic, By Night in Chile marked the American debut of an astonishing writer.

©2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Tom
  • Warm Springs, Georgia
  • 03-01-19

Dreamscape by a Talented Chilean Writer

I was told that Bolaño’s 2666 was a masterpiece but thought that I would try this book first as the length of 2666 was daunting. This was possibly a mistake for a couple of reasons.

By Night in Chile is written by a Chilean for a Chilean audience, if for any audience at all. It is more a reflection, a meditation, a journal entry by a man going through a difficult time in the history of Chile. I have to admit that I could not understand or identify with many of the writer’s feelings or references. This is not said to invalidate his words, just to say that they meant little to me.

This book, I won’t call it a novel, may have been written to express Bolaño’s feelings and the prose, even in translation, is often quite elegant, but never touched me. I had to fight to get to the end.

Sorry, but I don’t think I’ll be attempting 2666.