Recommended by Michael, City Lights Books
The first story collection by Roberto Bolaño —"the real thing and the rarest" (Susan Sontag).
Roberto Bolaño's story collection Last Evenings on Earth was acclaimed by Francine Prose in The New York Times Book Review as "something extraordinarily beautiful and (at least to me) entirely new.... Reading Roberto Bolaño is like hearing the secret story, being shown the fabric of the particular, watching the tracks of art and life merge at the horizon and linger there like a dream from which we awake inspired to look more attentively at the world."
"The melancholy folklore of exile," as Bolaño once put it, pervades these fourteen haunting stories. His narrators are usually writers living on the margins and grappling with private (and often unlucky) quests. Set in the Chilean exile diaspora of Latin American and Europe, and peopled by Bolano's beloved "failed generation," these stories are unimaginably gripping. One story begins: "Mauricio Silva, also known as 'The Eye,' always tried to avoid violence, even at the risk of being considered a coward, but violence, real violence, is unavoidable, at least for those of us born in Latin America during the fifties and sixties and were about twenty years old at the time of Salvador Allende's death." Last Evenings on Earth has been hailed as "sheer brilliance" (The San Francisco Chronicle), "vaguely, pervasively frightening" (The Nation) and "brilliant" (Kirkus Reviews). The stories, as Publishers Weekly noted, are "perfectly calibrated: Bolaño limns the capacity of a voice to carry despair without shading into bitterness."