Book Review: Roberto Bolaño, Woes of the True Policeman; translated by Natasha Wimmer

I don’t mean to keep comparing all of Bolaño’s books to one another, but when first Amalfitano showed up, followed by Acrimbaldi, how could I not help thinking about 2666 when reading this, Bolaño’s last, unfinished novel? Also set mainly in Mexico, where Amalfitano along with his daughter Rosa have moved to following a scandal in Spain, Woes contains all of Bolaño’s classic themes, like characters who don’t fit in trying to navigate the mainstream world, one that appears shadowy and sinister and, most of all, is always dark, even when it’s comical. Just as the murders of Mexican women start to happen the book ends, leaving the reader with the sense that there was much, much more to come and a feeling of terrific loss, when thinking of how young Bolaño was when he died, and how much more he might have given to the world if he had lived past 53.

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