miércoles, 28 de julio de 2010

El Tercer Reich

El Tercer Reich (Vintage Español, 2010)
por Roberto Bolaño
España, 2010

Udo Berger, entusiasta alemán de wargames y escritor para revistas de juegos de estrategia, va al hotel Del Mar en la Costa Brava para pasar las vacaciones en España con su novia.  Bajo el sol catalán, Udo e Ingeborg se encuentra con otra pareja teutónica, Charly y Hanna, y empiezan a desarrollar una amistad con ellos y con los vecinos (un elenco internacional de españoles, expatriados, y un hombre misterioso de origen desconocido que se llama el Quemado).  Nada interesante pasa hasta que Charly desaparece una noche; llegado a este punto, la cosa se complica y comienza una suerte de thriller claustrofóbico.  Sabiendo a ciencia cierta que todo fanático de Bolaño va a querer experimentar a este libro (una inédita novela, escrita en 1989 y descubierta entre los archivos del escritor después de su muerte) por sí mismo, voy a tratar de limitarme a decirles que El Tercer Reich me pareció más o menos, tal vez bueno, pero nada del otro mundo.  El ambiente de misterio, por ejemplo, tarda demasiado antes de arrancar.  La segunda parte de la novela, donde Udo sufre de indicios de una crisis nerviosa inexplicable al mismo tiempo que empieza a perder el juego de El Tercer Reich a su contrincante, casi parece a Henry James más que a Bolaño mismo.  ¡Qué lastima, pues, que la segunda parte sea la mejor parte con respecto a la intriga!  Por supuesto, no es una novela mala y sí hay páginas que se leen como el Bolaño de siempre.  Pero falta algo de picante, si me entienden.  (http://www.grupodelectura.com/)
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El Tercer Reich (Vintage Español, 2010)
by Roberto Bolaño
Spain, 2010

Udo Berger, a German war game enthusiast and a writer for board game strategy magazines, heads off to the Del Mar hotel on the Costa Brava to spend some time with his girlfriend vacationing in Spain.  Under the Catalan sun, Udo and Ingeborg meet another German couple, Charly and Hannah, and begin to develop a friendship with them and some locals (an international cast of Spaniards, expats, and a mysterious man of unknown origin known only as "el Quemado" [a/k/a "the Burnt Guy"] for his disfiguring scars).  Nothing really interesting happens until Charly disappears one night--at which point, the plot thickens and a sort of claustrophobic thriller begins to take shape.  Knowing full well that all of Bolaño's fans will want to experience this book (an unpublished novel, written in 1989 and discovered among the author's papers after his death) for themselves regardless of anything I have to add, I'll try to limit myself to saying that El Tercer Reich [The Third Reich] seemed OK, maybe even "good" to me, but nothing really out of this world.  The mystery ambience, for example, takes too long to develop before it gets going.  The second half of the novel, where Udo inexplicably begins to suffer from the symptoms of a nervous breakdown at the same time as he begins to lose a game of The Third Reich at the hands of his rival, almost reads more like Henry James than Bolaño himself.  What a shame then that the second half of the novel is the better of the two halves in terms of the suspense and intrigue!  Of course, it's not a bad novel and there are pages that read like the Bolaño that we're used to.  It's just that something's missing, if you catch my drift.  [N.B. "Self-translation" added 7/29 as a tip of the hat to E.L. Fay!]

Bolaño

13 comentarios:

  1. I've seen people say the same about Antwerp, which I believe was published in a similarly unfinished state...lucky for me there's no much finished Bolaño left to read!

    Btw, David & I watched a VERY silly film for your mini-challenge the other night. Very silly indeed. :-)

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  2. *Emily: I guess there's a good reason why authors leave manuscripts unfinished/unpublished then, huh? Look forward to (eventually) seeing what your next Bolaño will be and what very silly film you chose for the film mini-challenge, of course. Cheers!

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  3. Hey, I can read most of this unaided! Udo Berger is a German who loves war games and writes for magazines about play strategy. In Catalan, he and Ingeborg meet another German couple and become friends. There's a mysterious man known as Quemado? Nothing interesting happens until Charly disappears.

    This is an unedited novel from 1989 that any Bolaño fan will like. It was found after his death. The second part of The Third Reich is better because it has more intrigue, but overall it's not that bad.

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  4. *E.L. Fay: Close but not entirely correct re: one key point (hint: the first sentence in your second paragraph is more optimistically worded than what I wrote). However, I'll put up an English translation later today as a "reward" for your Spanish sightreading prowess. "A for effort" and all that!

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  5. I like your choice of the word fanático (de Bolaño) instead of perhaps aficionado or admidador, since fanatic, in English, is defined as "a person motivated by irrational enthusiasm." Sounds perfect! :--)

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  6. *Jill: I hear what you're saying (your fame, or rather your infamy,
    as a Bolaño hater precedes you, after all), but I softened "fanatic" to "fan" in the translation of myself that I just added. Can we still be friends?!? Funny you picking up on that word b/c I believe I weirded out Frances by calling her and Emily "Woolf fanatics" earlier in the year. C'mon, who would have figured "fanatic" had some extremist connotations?

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  7. Haha, I forgot this post was originally just in Spanish & thought EL Fay had gone off the deep end, or come home from the bar & started drunk-commenting! Kind of wish I hadn't figured out the explanation.

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  8. Some fanaticism is certainly acceptable. Bolano - questionable. Unicorns - we won't go there. But 3,000 year-old-vampires - well, there are at least TWO commenters on this very post who are fanatical about that subject, and THAT, needless to say, is perfectly reasonable...

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  9. Todavía me falta leer uno de los libros más grossos, en todos los sentidos posibles de la palabra, que es 2666. Cada vez que voy a la galería lo veo paradito en el estante, tapa dura. Por lo que cuentas de El tercer... es mejor meterse con los de otrora para luego leer éste.
    saludos desde el cono sur

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  10. *Emily: Ha ha, "drunk-commenting" would have been a massive temptation for me at one point in time! Sorry you had to figure out the real explanation...

    *Jill: I can't argue with your vampire logic! In other news, yes, let's not talk about unicorns for a while. Some of your fellow YA fans seem to get kind of pissy about that for some reason!

    *Mario: 2666 va a esperar por vos, pero por cierto tengas que leerlo en algún tiempo. ¡Un librazo! El Tercer Reich no es malo como estaba diciendo, pero es una obra menor sin duda alguna. Lástima. ¡Saludos!

    *E.L. Fay: You're welcome, any time!

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  11. This is coming out in English in January, I think. The Bolaño completist in me can wait. There's some 9 more books by him untranslated!

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  12. *Rise: I didn't realize there were so many untranslated Bolaños left. That should keep everybody busy for a while, huh? Cheers! P.S. Sorry about the delay getting back to you, but I've been a little scattered lately.

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