Jacob Silverman’s review of Roberto Bolaño’s The Third Reich. [via Tablet]
One must add some caveats about this being an unfinished, posthumously published work, but there’s a frustrating sense here that Bolaño doesn’t take his conceit as far as he could. Bolaño excels at showing how Udo begins to take the titular game as a substitute for real life, how his possible defeat may result in his death. But there’s little sense of why this game matters, why the fact that Udo, a young German playing as the Wehrmacht in order to change the historical course of the war, might in itself represent something malevolent. (Late in the book, when confronted with a rumor that he’s a Nazi, Udo, credibly, denies it.)
I get the feeling that it’ll be a good and entertaining book, but noticeably less impressive when measured against the rest of the Bolaño canon. We’ll see!