Magazine article New Internationalist

Monsieur Pain

Magazine article New Internationalist

Monsieur Pain

Article excerpt

Monsieur Pain by Roberto Bolaño translated by Chris Andrews (Picador 978033051 0561)

Pierre Pain is a mesmerist, living in Paris in 1938. César Vallejo is a Peruvian poet dying of hiccups in one of the city's hospitals. When Pain is entreated by a Madame Reynaud, with whom he is infatuated, to try to save the dying man, he naturally agrees. But forces - including 'quack'-hating medics and a pair of sinister Spanish stalkers - conspire against him.

There are nods to film noir and the writings of Jorge Luis Borges. But, that said, Bolaño is very much his own writer. And Monsieur Pain, though at 140 pages a mere slip of a book by the Chilean's standards - The Savage Detectives topped 570 pages while 2666 neared 900 - amply displays his febrile brand of originality.

Powerfully imagined, and exquisitely told, Monsieur Pain shows a man trying to grasp a reality that is elusive, dreamlike and menacingly strange, while in the background are rumblings of the Spanish Civil War and a restive Nazi Germany. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.