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Discovered after his death, in 2003, Bolano left this novel complete as a typewritten manuscript - meticulously corrected by hand - it is published in English translation for the first time.
Udo Berger, aspiring writer and wargames champion of Stuttgart, decides it is time to take his new love, Ingeborg, on holiday to the Costa Brava. He brings along his new game, The Third Reich, which he plans to practice for the upcoming wargames tournament in Paris, where he will finally meet the sleek American champion, Rex Douglas. However, things take a sinister turn when some shady locals arrive on the scene and one of Udo's friends disappears. Pursued by a shadowy detective who visits his nightmares in quest for the truth; the surrealistic landscape of the Costa Brava and his increasingly feverish dreams draw him further into delirium. Finally, he finds himself locked in mortal combat when he engages in a game of Third Reich with the enigmatic and disfigured El Quemado - a foreigner who lives in a Kafkaesque burrow on the beach. Unpublished in any language during Bolano's lifetime, this story of one man's journey into nightmare will make a welcome addition to this author's already astonishing oevre.
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, December 2011: Udo Berger is the German national champion of The Third Reich, a tactical WWII-themed board game seemingly designed to reveal the worst in self-absorbed obsessives like Udo. Even while on vacation at the lush Spanish resort of Costa Brava, Udo is unable to tear himself away from a game he's begun with a beach worker. He ignores his girlfriend as she goes off to enjoy the company of Charly and Hanna, another German couple that can be counted among the many people Udo cannot stand. When Charly goes missing, Udo shows little interest, choosing instead to plot the conquering movements of his army tokens as they march across a hexagonally divided map of Europe.
It may not be the best introduction for new readers of the late Chilean author Roberto Bolano, but fans of his biggest works, such as his international breakout The Savage Detectives or the posthumous five-volume epic 2666, will see familiar elements and themes in The Third Reich. Bolano draws a fine line between memory and reality, but blurs them in the final pages, as the novel slowly drifts from realism to a nightmarish fever dream--leaving readers with an ending that is ambiguous yet haunting. --Kevin NguyenAbout the Author:
Roberto Bolano was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He grew up in Chile and Mexico City. He is the author of The Savage Detectives, which received the Herralde Prize and the Romulo Gallegos Prize, and 2666, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He died in Blanes, Spain, at the age of fifty.
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