Roberto Bolano! Leanne Shapton!

In what is probably the most targeted-at-our-store-demographic (a.k.a. best) move possible, The Paris Review is releasing a lost Bolano work as a serial over the course of 2011, and they're getting it illustrated by... LEANNE SHAPTON. YES. The first installment has just arrived and it is just so gorgeous.

The Third Reich
is being serialized in The Paris Review over their four 2011 issues, and will appear as a hardcover in the fall/winter of 2011.

Guys, let me tell you right now: THIS IS GOOD. I apologize for the excess of caps lock in this blog post, but you need to know I am serious about what I'm saying. The prose is classic Bolano: "at once carefully constructed and loosely, flowingly written – as if culled from a lifetime of memories and anecdotes," as The Guardian puts it.

The story follows a cocky twenty-something named Udo Berger who is vacationing on the Costa Brava. The Third Reich of the title refers to a war board game that Udo plays obsessively, writing trade journal articles about it and participating in tournaments around the world. What Bolano focuses on though, as always, is the interactions between his characters and the descriptions of the worlds in which they live, whether internal or external.

If you're not convinced yet, the Paris Review introduction:
"From the first sentence, The Third Reich bears his hallmarks. The irony, the atmosphere of erotic anxiety, the dream logic shading into nightmare, the feckless, unreliable narrator: all prefigure his later work."

Detail from a Shapton illustration

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