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Bolaño’s radical first novel makes its paperback debut as a New Directions Pearl.
Written when he was only twenty-seven, Antwerp can be viewed as the Big Bang of Roberto Bolano’s fictional universe. This novel presents the genesis of Bolano’s enterprise in prose; all the elements are here, highly compressed, at the moment when his talent explodes. From this springboard—which Bolano chose to publish in 2002, twenty years after he’d written it (“and even that I can’t be certain of”)—as if testing out a high dive, he would plunge into the unexplored depths of the modern novel.
Voices speak from a dream, from a nightmare, from passersby, from an omniscient narrator, from “Roberto Bolano.” Antwerp’s fractured narration in fifty-four sections moves in multiple directions and cuts to the bone.