The Skating Rink, By Roberto Bolaño, trans. Chris Andrews

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The Independent Culture

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.