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The Spirit of Science Fiction

A Novel
Length: 4 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From a master of contemporary fiction, a tale of bohemian youth on the make in Mexico City.

Two young poets, Jan and Remo, find themselves adrift in Mexico City. Obsessed with poetry and above all with science fiction, they are eager to forge a life in the literary world - or sacrifice themselves to it. Roberto Bolaño's The Spirit of Science Fiction is a story of youth hungry for revolution, notoriety, and sexual adventure as they work to construct a reality out of the fragments of their dreams.

But as close as these friends are, the city tugs them in opposite directions. Jan withdraws from the world, shutting himself in their shared rooftop apartment where he feverishly composes fan letters to the stars of science fiction and dreams of cosmonauts and Nazis. Meanwhile, Remo runs headfirst into the future, spending his days and nights with a circle of wild young writers, seeking pleasure in the city's labyrinthine streets, rundown cafés, and murky bathhouses.  

This kaleidoscopic work of strange and tender beauty is a fitting introduction for listeners uninitiated into the thrills of Roberto Bolaño's fiction and an indispensable addition to an ecstatic and transgressive body of work.

©2019 Roberto Bolaño (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“With words alone, Bolaño summons a visual world, creating in this book, as in his others, what Mario Vargas Llosa has called ‘images and fantasies for posterity’… admirers will find in these themes and players a satisfying proleptic glimpse of his picaresque masterpiece, 1998’s The Savage Detectives… [This] gem-choked puzzle of a book… serves as a key to Bolano’s later work, unlocking clues to his abiding obsessions … [and] is a hardy forerunner that stands on its own.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“[Bolaño] is a kinetic, epiphanic writer, and even his earliest works tremble like a whirring, unpredictable machine...The Spirit of Science Fiction functions as a kind of key to the jeweled box of Bolaño’s fictions, an index of the images that would come to obsess him.... longtime Bolaño fans will doubtless enjoy this familiar cocktail of sorrow and ecstasy.” (Paris Review

The Spirit of Science Fiction is structured unconventionally, enticing the reader to solve its mysteries. Bolaño adroitly braids three related narratives... an entertaining, lyrical and accomplished novel.” (Wall Street Journal)

“This is vintage Bolaño: a lusty and rapturous shaggy-dog tale of Latin American exiles and bohemian youth.” (Vanityfair.com

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