Woes of the True Policeman

Roberto Bolaño; Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Begun in the 1980s and worked on until the author’s death in 2003, Woes of the True Policeman is Roberto Bolaño’s last, unfinished novel.

The novel follows Óscar Amalfitano—an exiled Chilean university professor and widower—through the maze of his revolutionary past, his relationship with his teenage daughter, Rosa, his passion for a former student, and his retreat from scandal in Barcelona.

Forced to leave Barcelona for Santa Teresa, a Mexican city close to the U.S. border where women are being killed in unprecedented numbers, Amalfitano soon begins an affair with Castillo, a young forger of Larry Rivers paintings. Meanwhile, Rosa, Amalfitano’s daughter, engages in her own epistolary romance with a basketball player from Barcelona, while still trying to cope with her mother’s early death and her father’s secrets. After finding Castillo in bed with her father, Rosa is forced to confront her own crisis. What follows is an intimate police investigation of Amalfitano that involves a series of dark twists, culminating in a finale full of euphoria and heartbreak.

Featuring characters and stories from his other books, Woes of the True Policeman invites the reader more than ever into the world of Roberto Bolaño. It is an exciting, kaleidoscopic novel, lyrical and intense, yet darkly humorous. Exploring the roots of memory and the limits of art, Woes of the True Policeman marks the culmination of one of the great careers of world literature.

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Book Excerpts

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According to Padilla, remembered Amalfitano, all literature could be classified as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. Novels, in general, were heterosexual. Poetry, on the other hand, was completely homosexual. Within the vast ocean of poetry he identified various currents: faggots, queers, sissies, freaks, butches, fairies, nymphs, and philenes. But the two major currents were faggots and queers. Walt Whitman, for example, was a faggot poet. Pablo Neruda, a queer. William Blake was definitely a faggot. Octavio Paz was a queer.

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Work in Progress » Blog Archive » Between the Abyss and Misfortune
Prologue to Woes of the True Policeman by Juan Antonio Masoliver Ródenas Translated by Natasha Wimmer Woes of the True Policeman is a project that was begun at the end of the 1980s and continued until the writer’s death.
- FSG's Work in Progress


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About the Author

Roberto Bolaño; Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

Roberto Bolaño was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He grew up in Chile and Mexico City, where he was a founder of the Infrarealist poetry movement. He is the author of The Savage Detectives, which received the Herralde Prize and the Rómulo Gallegos Prize, and 2666, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Bolaño died in Blanes, Spain, at the age of fifty.

 

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Available Formats and Book Details

Woes of the True Policeman
Roberto Bolaño; Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

Hardcover

Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
November 2012
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780374266745
ISBN10: 0374266743
6 x 9 inches, 256 pages
$25.00

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
October 2013
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250037824
ISBN10: 1250037824
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 272 pages
$15.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
November 2012
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466827738
ISBN10: 1466827734
256 pages
$9.99
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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