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Lost Roberto Bolano story to appear in the Paris Review

February 9, 2011 |  6:12 pm

Robertobolano_nd Roberto Bolaño, author of the 2008 novel "2666," is a successful writer -- the massive, 912-page book was a bestseller and won the National Book Critics Circle prize for fiction. He's remarkably successful, even, because he died in 2003.

His death hasn't slowed the productivity of the Chilean writer -- in fact, since the success of "2666," we've seen piles of Bolaño published in America. New Directions has been the publisher for much of his work, including "Monsieur Pain," a short novel;  "Antwerp," a kind of metafiction; and "The Insufferable Gaucho," a mix of short fiction and essays; in spring 2011, the publisher will deliver a collection of essays and speeches in "Between Parentheses."

But New Directions doesn't have a lock on Bolaño in translation -- in fact, his relationship is still going strong with his English-language editor on "2666," Lorin Stein. Stein left Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2010 to become editor of the storied literary journal the Paris Review -- and the Paris Review will be running  Bolaño's "lost novel" as a serial in four issues, over the course of a year.

Titled "The Third Reich," the first installment will appear in the Paris Review's spring issue. Today, the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog has an excerpt, which begins:

“Poor man,” I heard Hanna say.

I asked to whom she was referring; I was told to take a closer look without being obvious about it. The rental guy was dark, with long hair and a muscular build, but the most noticeable thing about him by far was the burns -- I mean burns from a fire, not the sun -- that covered most of his face, neck, and chest, and which he displayed openly, dark and corrugated, like grilled meat or the crumpled metal of a downed plane.

In our pages, Ben Ehrenreich called "2666" "strange and marvelous and impossibly funny, bursting with melancholy and horror."  It's a mix American readers have shown a taste for -- and perhaps that taste will lead them to the upcoming serial in the Paris Review.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Roberto Bolaño. Credit: New Directions