Picador £7.99 (182pp) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The Skating Rink, By Roberto Bolaño, trans. Chris Andrews
Friday 17 June 2011
The Chilean novelist and poet is best known for the novels The Savage Detectives and 2666: his "supernovel", in part an elegy to the real murder victims of a Mexican town.
This 1993 fictional debut is also a murder mystery of sorts. When Nuria Marti, a beautiful Spanish figure skater, is dropped from the Olympic team, she's taken under the wing of a corrupt government official. Besotted, he builds her a secret rink in an abandoned villa.
Paid for with embezzled funds, the rink soon becomes a crime scene. Narrated by a civil servant, a romantic poet and a local entrepreneur, this Catalan drama sizzles with unrequited love and murderous ambition. Chris Andrews's laid-back translation helps unlock its more cryptic elements.
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