A hypnotic deathbed confession revolving around Opus Dei, crazed schemes, poetry, and Pinochet, By Night in Chile pours out the self-justifying dark memories of Father Urrutia, a half-hearted Chilean priest.
By Night in Chile's single night-long rant provides — as through a crack in the wall — a terrifying, clandestine view of the strange bedfellows of Church and State in Chile. This wild, eerily compact novel — Roberto Bolaño's first work available in English––recounts the tale of a poor boy who wanted to be a poet, but ends up a Jesuit priest and a conservative literary critic, a lap dog to Chile's rich and powerful cultural elite, by whose favors he meets Pablo Neruda and Ernst Jünger. Father Urrutia is offered a tour of Europe by agents of Opus Dei (to study "the disintegration of the churches," a journey into realms of the surreal); and ensnared by this plum, he is next assigned — after the destruction of Allende — a secret, never-to-be-disclosed nighttime job involving Pinochet. Soon, searingly, Father Urrutia's memories go from bad to worse.
“The most influential and admired novelist of his generation in the Spanish-speaking world.”
— Susan Sontag, Los Angeles Times Book Review
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