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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  2,637 ratings  ·  283 reviews
Amulet embodies in one woman's breathtaking voice the melancholy and violent recent history of Latin America. It begins: "This is going to be a horror story."

The speaker is Auxilio Lacouture, a Uruguayan woman in Mexico City in the 1960s, who becomes the "Mother of Mexican Poetry." Tall, thin, and blonde, she is famous as the sole person who resists the army's invasion of...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published May 17th 2008 by New Directions (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 06, 2013 s.penkevich rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bathroom wall graffitiers
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Ian Paganus de Fish
History is like a horror story.

The student youth of Mexico raised their fists in protest during the summer and fall of 1968, marching against the government towards the violent climax of the Tlatelolco Massacre on October 2nd. ¹ Student demonstrations were organized in response to the killings of several students by the police called in to repress a fight between gang members of two rival schools—the Mexican National Autonomous University (UNAM) and National Politechnical Institute (IPN)—and wer...more
Lynne King
“I am in the women’s bathroom in the faculty building and I can see the future, I said, in a soprano voice, as if I were being coy.

I know that said the dreamy voice, I know that. You start making your prophecies and I’ll note them down.”

I found this book very difficult to come to terms with at times which is based around the year 1968 in Mexico City, be it the future, the past or the present which are all thrown in for good measure to confuse a poor literary individual such as myself.

The narrato...more
Ian Paganus de Fish
When Only a Wedge Will Do

I read this because I’m a lazy cheapskate.

I bought it for $5 (reduced from $50) in a recent Borders sale.

But I was looking for a relatively short wedgie between larger undertakings, the next of which will be Haruki Murakami’s “1Q84”.

At 184 pages, it’s more of a novella than a novel (although I’ve never really understood or cared much for the distinction).

What’s important for me is how much the author put into those pages and how much we the readers get out of them.

As I w...more
I want to give this book five stars, but since I didn't give Savage Detectives or 2666 five stars I feel it's only fitting to give this four stars.

A lot of people gush about Bolano, so much that it's enough to turn off other people from him. That said, there are quite a few people who really dislike Bolano mostly because hipster's and others were all over him (but were they really? It seems to me like Bolano-mania is over and now it's safe to come out and read his work in peace, but I could be...more
mai ahmd

رواية بولاينو أشبه بأغنية رقيقة لرفاق دربه تروى على لسان سيدة أطلق عليها الرفاق أم الشعر المكسيكية التي تروى قصة معرفتها بالشعراء وتسكعها معهم وخدمتها لهم خلال ذروة حركة احتجاج الشباب و الذي كانت فيه الحكومة المكسيكية تستخدم العنف في الجامعات وتلجأ إلى القتل والضرب
في الوقت الذي تعلق فيه راوية النص في أحد الحمامات وتروي بأسلوب ملىء بالقلق والحيرة بروح مضطربة وخائفة على الشعر والشعراء ..

ما يهم في هذا الكتاب أكثر منه رواية أو قصة تحكى أنك تشعر أن روح جيفارا
تحلق في النص وإنه جزء من حياة الشاعر ا...more
Tanuj Solanki
The Desire of the Hysteric

"And although the song that I heard was about war, about the heroic deeds of a whole generation of young Latin Americans led to sacrifice, I knew that above and beyond all, it was about courage and mirrors, desire and pleasure."

These are lines from the last page of Bolano's novel, containing in them one of the many keys for reading this masterpiece, a masterpiece that hovers between confusion, terror, and poetry.

Eli Evans in Bookslut rightly argues that Latin America or...more
Realized I hadn't yet read this although I've had it for years in part because the year "2666" is mentioned in this novel, not 2666. Toward the end, a few pages of twisted prophecies appear that reveal the years in which famous writers are reincarnated and/or lose their last reader in the 21st century (eg, Kafka in 2046). Many exemplary Bolano bits, including the answer to the question "how was Che Guevara in bed?" But in general it reminded me why I put down "The Savage Detectives" a few years...more
Emir Never
Review hosted at The Page Walker

A Necessary Encounter

In one scene at the start of Roberto Bolaño’s Amulet, the narrator Auxilio Lacouture was observing a vase owned by the poet she was serving as a house helper, “tracing a more or less spiral path” toward it. Just when she was about to pick up the object of her curiosity, she broke down and cried.

“Then still shaking, I got up and walked over to that vase again, with, I think, the sensible intention of picking it up and smashing it on the floor,
A wonderful long short story which captures the nature of dreams by compression, displacement of images, time slippages and identity shifts, most of all by metaphors in the broadest sense - those that clash and compound separate discourses, or confound, all disturbing historical stability. That the 'dream' expands from the tiles and watery sounds of a ladies' toilet in a university department of philosophy and literature adds via its literal banality (although the tiles are also hieroglyphs)to a...more
K.D. Absolutely
Still an enjoyable read. It's just that I enjoyed his thicker books more.

This is about a woman whose name is that of a man's, Auxilio Lacouture who gets trapped for 12 days inside a toilet. That was the day when the Mexican authorities began their crackdown on poets because of their illegal organization. I did not understand the whole story of how come their organization became illegal and what those poor poets have done to deserve their punishments but I think that was beside the point. The who...more
bolano's characters are some of the most beautiful. they miraculously avoid sentimentality while achieving a too-beautiful-to-speak-of romanticism -- though reducing them so is an error, that quality he gets really does tear me up...

his characters remind me of the vow of poverty monastics make. it isn't a negative vow--at least not for the nun. it is in fact a positive one, one that moves the renunciate closer to the divine. bolano's poets and losers and mothers are an equal type. and one way t...more
J Frederick
A book more hallucinated than narrated by Auxilio Lacouture, a woman whose voice was one of the highlights of The Savage Detectives in which she spoke of her encounters with young Belano and of being holed up in a bathroom, resisting the Mexican army's invasion of a college compus in 1968. This book is essentially an expansion of that chapter, but remains entirely unique in his body of work. Amulet is full of Bolaño's vivid and unorthodox (some would say nonsensical) metaphors, with every other...more
only 3 stars, but still worth the read.
the book is auxilio's (the mother of mexican poetry) reflection on her past and her future and i guess her present, in mexico in the 60's. all while holed up in a bathroom in a school that has been invaded and closed down by the mexican army. from the opening sentence i thought the book was going in a different direction than it actually did. expected more out of the book, but was still pleased with where it lead me.

there is something about Bolano and his...more

حاولت بأقصى ما لدي من طاقة أن أحب الكتاب و الكاتب الذي انتظرت طويلاً أن يترجم أحدهم رواياته إلى العربية. ربما لم تكن البداية موفقة مع هذه التعويذة خصوصاً و أنها ليست بقيمة روائع بولانيو ( 2666 ) و ( التحريون المتوحشون ). و لكن طمأنتني مقولة الكبير بورخيس التي تذهب إلى أن بعض الكتب لم تكتب لمزاجاتنا. أحب هذه الحكمة البورخيسية - على الرغم من دبلوماسيتها - لأنها تنصف القارئ و الكاتب على حدٍ سواء. أسلوب بولانيو رائع و استرساله كذلك و خلطه بين الماضي و المستقبل و الحاضر لامرأة من الأورغواي تعيش في ال...more
Depositei tanta esperança na leitura deste livro e nem metade consegui ler...

Uma mulher. Numa casa de banho. Sentada numa sanita. " as cuecas a algemar os tornozelos magros".
Recorda o tempo em que limpava o pó aos livros e observava jarras sem flores.
Não tem dentes. Coloca a mão na boca quando ri. Deve ser importante porque tem muitos parágrafos a explicar.
Conhece muitos nomes de poetas. E dormiu com alguns.

Muita história, cultura e política mexicana. Não percebo, nem vontade tenho de perc...more
George-Icaros Babassakis
I'm on page 51 of 192 of Amulet: Η γλώσσα κόκαλα δεν έχει και κόκαλα τσακίζει. Δυνατός Μπολάνιο. Διαβάζω τη μετάφραση του Κρίτωνα Ηλιόπουλου, εκδ. Άγρα.

Μετάφραση και έκδοση: δέκα στα δέκα. Το μυθιστόρημα (κάτι παραπάνω από μυθιστόρημα) αγγίζει την Ποίηση.Ένα παρατεταμένο, ένα long play, ουρλιαχτό κατά της βίας και κατά του παραλογισμού. Ταυτοχρόνως, μια ευφυέστατη, τρελά χιουμοριστική, και μαζί γενναία Υπεράσπιση της Ποίησης. Δέκα χρόνια μετά τον θάνατό του, και εξήντα από τη γέννησή του, ο Μπολ...more
Karlo Mikhail
Amulet is my third book by Roberto Bolano after Nazi Literature in the Americas and Third Reich, all first-rate fiction from a now very popular Latin American writer. After reading Amulet, I truly understand why Bolano has been very popular among the literary-minded in the last decade. His books are filled with poets, fictionists, literary admirers, academics, and the like, both living and dead, both historical and fictional.

Amulet follows in this vein by presenting the sometimes sober and some...more
Seth Hahne
As a formalistic excursion, Amulet veers toward abstraction. Bolaño's apocalyptic pericopae within a singular pericope reminds me of Ishiguro's The Unconsoled in its happy willingness to throttle time and narrative senseless for the sake of its own greater mysteries. Only, at least, Bolaño makes his readers well-aware of this through his heroine's nagging reminders.

Auxilio, whose name is a plea for salvation—for assistance, for redemption, for a crutch, for help— is the figurative mother of Mex...more
Maya Panika
This book was a shining example of everything I love least about Latin American Literature. A florid, OTT, self-consciously ‘poetic’ style; the navel-gazings of ‘The Mother of Mexican Poetry’ as she sits trapped in the women’s lavatories during the 1968 Tlatelolco student massacre.

There’s everything you’d expect in a book of this kind: rose-tinted politics, the romanticised lauding of poets and poverty, a deal of obscure name-dropping (to show how intellectual the narrator is) and a fantasticall...more
مونولوج طويل لشخصية الرواية أوكسيليو عن الشعر و الأدب في المكسيك استفدنا منه في التعرف على هذا الأدب و شذرات من سيرة الكاتب ذاته في بداياته..
لا تتوقع أحداث مرتبة و حبكة روائية و النجمتين فقط للمعلومات القيمة
adresindeki yazımız:

İnkar etmenin alemi yok, tuvalette kitap okuduğunuzu biliyoruz. Peki, bir tuvalette 13 gün mahsur kalacağınızı bilseniz yanınıza hangi kitabı alırdınız? Siz düşünedurun, Roberto Bolaño’nun Tılsım’ında Auxilio Lacouture, başına geleceklerden habersiz üniversitenin tuvaletinde Pedro Garfias’ın şiirlerini okuyordu. Tam o sırada, Meksika’nın başkenti Meksiko’da 68 hareketinin tırmanacağını, on bin kadar gencin, “Olimpiyat değil devrim istiy...more
Auxilio is a middle-aged Uruguayan woman who loves poetry, and hangs out with poets and students in Mexico City. She is in the university when the army storms it in September of 1968, and spends 12 days or more holed up in a women's bathroom. During this time she has visions of the past and future - and since she's telling the story from some unknown point even further in the future, she knows that some of the visions did some to pass. But on the other hand, she "remembers" a meeting with a pain...more
Ben Dutton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Auxilio Lacouture viene dall’Uruguay. Il perché arriva in Messico non lo sa bene neppure lei. Forse perché il suo destino era essere la particolare testimone di un crimine di immensa portata e il cantore di una generazione destinata a morire, affinché non se ne perda la memoria. Un cantore non cieco, come vuole la tradizione al riguardo, bensì privo di denti, ma ugualmente preveggente.

Sia come sia, Auxilio giunge nel Distrito Federal e la sua vita si fonde con quella dei poeti, messicani e non....more
Takes a few characters and a small episode from The Savage Detectives and runs off with it for 180 pages. Auxilio Lacouture, a self-styled "Mother of Mexican Poetry" in the late 60s and early 70s, is an eccentric hanger-on of the literary scene and visionary near-madwoman who alternates between recounting chronological sequences of events, as colorful characters drink in the usual scruffy cafes and surrealistic flights of fancy.

As always with Bolaño's books, if you take the trouble to Google the...more
Would have given it five stars, but the final 30 or so pages had a bit of an "ehh, I suppose it's time to start ending this," feel. In some ways I can't blame Bolano too much for that, as the book was less a plot than a (highly successful) evocation of place and mood, and it's difficult to succinctly wrap up a non-existent plot. All it can do is to quit having pages.

Bolano to me is at his best when writing about the outer edges of his own life, and here he does just that, using a female narrator...more

Emerson once derisively called him "the jingle man" which caused me to sort of look askance at his work for the first time. I wasn't kneeling at the altar or anything but I sort of saw him in a different light after that.

I think the stories (and only about a handful of them, come to think about it) are where Poe really shines. That said, The Raven holds up.

Annabel Lee, Ulalume, The Conqueror Worm, A Dream Within a Dream prety much takes care of the lot. Not bad, but not exactly the master so man...more
Amulet is about the events at UNAM in 1968 that led to the Tlatelolco massacre. It is the first of the shorter Bolanos I have read and while it is no The Savages Detectives to me, I enjoyed reading him in a more condensed form as well. The story is told by Auxilio Lacouture, who was trapped in a bathroom at the University during the occupation (this story is mentioned in The Savage Detectives). This lends Auxilio a degree of notoriety and it becomes a pivotal point in her life. Time collapses on...more
I thought this book was okay but pretty repetitive. There were a lot of good parts, but I didn't think it was a great work of literature. Compelling read, though.

Some of my favorite quotes:

"Maybe it was madness that impelled me to travel. It could have been madness. I used to say it was culture. Of course culture sometimes is, or involves, a kind of madness. Maybe it was a lack of love that impelled me to travel. Or an overwhelming abundance of love. Maybe it was madness." (3)

"After that I cam...more
Alex V.
I cannot stop reading Bolaño's books, expecting to hit a wall, but just as the wall approaches, it dissolves into mist. Amulet is similar to By Night in Chile in that it is a delirious narcissistic dream rant from a sideline player in a heady cultural climate. The narrator here is a woman hiding in a fourth floor bathroom as troops occupy a university. It's unclear if the tale that unfolds is a memoir, a mad fantasy, or a brief endorphin supernova at the moment of death; in the hands of this wri...more
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صالون الجمعة: تعويذة | 2-2014 43 167 Feb 07, 2014 10:15AM  
  • The Literary Conference
  • Senselessness
  • Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico
  • Poemas y antipoemas
  • The Private Lives of Trees
  • Seven Nights
  • The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel)
  • Bartleby & Co.
  • The Armies
  • The Cardboard House
  • Lands of Memory
  • 62: A Model Kit
  • Paradiso
For most of his early adulthood, Bolaño was a vagabond, living at one time or another in Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, France and Spain.

Bolaño moved to Europe in 1977, and finally made his way to Spain, where he married and settled on the Mediterranean coast near Barcelona, working as a dishwasher, a campground custodian, bellhop and garbage collector — working during the day and writing at night.

More about Roberto Bolaño...
The Savage Detectives 2666 By Night in Chile Distant Star Last Evenings on Earth

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“Nothing good ever comes of love. What comes of love is always something better” 71 likes
“I'll tell you, my friends: it's all in the nerves. The nerves that tense and relax as you approach the edges of companionship and love. The razor-sharp edges of companionship and love.” 17 likes
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