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Distant Star

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  3,414 ratings  ·  278 reviews
The star of Roberto Bolaño's hair-raising novel Distant Star is Alberto Ruiz-Tagle, an air force pilot who exploits the 1973 coup to launch his own version of the New Chilean Poetry, a multimedia enterprise involving sky-writing, poetry, torture, and photo exhibitions.

For our unnamed narrator, who first encounters this "star" in a college poetry workshop, Ruiz-Tagle become
Paperback, 150 pages
Published December 17th 2004 by New Directions (first published January 1st 1996)
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The Rings of Saturn by W.G. SebaldLabyrinths by Jorge Luis BorgesThe Hour of the Star by Clarice LispectorA Heart So White by Javier MaríasLast Evenings on Earth by Roberto Bolaño
Best New Directions Books
14th out of 94 books — 92 voters
The Savage Detectives by Roberto BolañoThe House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende2666 by Roberto BolañoEva Luna by Isabel AllendeDaughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
Chilean Literature
13th out of 147 books — 64 voters

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Community Reviews

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This short novel has some similar elements to The Savage Detectives, but it's much darker. Bolaño looks at the sinister side of Latin American poetry movements and politics, as he explores the dark careers and identities of Alberto Ruiz-Tagle, aka Carlos Wieder, a member of the Chilean air force who achieves as small measure of fame as a poet-aviator practicing a dark kind of performance art by skywriting over the Andes. The book's narrator, who met Ruiz-Tagle/Wieder in a series of poetry worksh ...more
Que libro! Cómo puede concentrar tanto un libro aparentemente tan pequeño. Por dónde empezar? El mejor libro que he leído, de los chilenos, de Bolaño. Porque cuando se pone chileno se pone muy muy chileno. Esta historia, la de Carlos Wieder, un maligno, un hombre hecho en el mundo militar de la dictadura chilena, en donde todo le es permitido.

Es la otra cara de la moneda de “los Detectives Salvajes”, está siempre presente la poesía, está el reconstruir hechos, pero mientras los detectives son d
A brilliant miniature of the tenderness and sadism of 1970s Southern Cone poetry and politics. Bolaño, as in The Savage Detectives, works to undermine Art and Poetry as the cult of the pure while adoring both as accidental consequences of living. He accuses poetry and poets of the Luciferian/Romantic lyrical gyre, specifically in the role of a sky-writing fascist serial-killer poet and photographer who ushers in the Chilean Art of the Future with a photography exposition featuring the dismembere ...more
Poets get slain.
Primero decir que no tiene mucho sentido estar comparando siempre toda obra de Bolaño con "Los Detectives Salvajes" y "2666". Esas son sus obras maestras, pero no por eso sus obras "menores" son menos relevantes.

En "Estrella Distante", una novela corta pero intensa, Bolaño traza la Dictadura de Pinochet en Chile a través de los ojos algunos poetas. Es una historia fracturada (tanto temporal como narrativamente) en donde mucho se deja al lector para descubrir entre lineas. El narrador y su amigo
Friederike Knabe
Forty years ago, Chile's elected president, Salvador Allende, was overthrown by the Pinochet regime. Reading Roberto Bolaño novella DISTANT STAR today, recollections of the coup events and, especially, their aftermath re-emerge vividly in my mind. In this work, originally published (in Spanish) in 1996, the author confronts us with different kinds of regime collaboration, from the activist to the sections of society that see themselves as standing innocently at the sidelines. While fictionalizin ...more

Continua la mia esplorazione di questo autore di cui sono venuta a conoscenza, ahimè, solo di recente. Già il precedente romanzo, La pista di ghiaccio, mi era molto piaciuto. Quella pista di ghiaccio, appunto, che improvvisamente sbocciava (metaforicamente parlando, ovviamente) nel mezzo del labirintico Palazzo Benvingut, improbabile scenario di un altrettanto improbabile amore, mi aveva incantata.

All’inizio di questo libro, ero sinceramente perplessa. Ho dovuto “googolare” non poc
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘He flew in a light plane and he flew alone.’

The novel opens in 1973, just before President Allende is overthrown by Augusto Pinochet. In Concepción, a group of left-leaning idealists discuss Pablo Neruda and Che Guevera. Members of this group include both the novel’s unnamed narrator and the enigmatic Alberto Ruiz-Tagle, a little known poet who is attractive to women and viewed with suspicion by men. After the coup, Ruiz-Tagle is revealed as a Pinochet supporter. He has German heritage, and his
La cruzada por ajusticiar el acto poético como forma de maldad. La importancia máxima de que nadie mancille a los muertos y a la poesía.

Bolaño elabora un informe, más que una novela, en la que la persecución de un tipo con mil nombres se mezcla con la historia reciente de Chile y de aquellos expatriados que buscaron fortuna más allá del Atlántico.

Sin embargo, no entro. Me quedo fuera todo el tiempo. La distancia narrativa, ya sea por el contenido o por el apartado formal, me ha mantenido alejad
Primo romanzo che leggo di Bolaño letto velocemente per assaggiare l'autore prima di cimentarmi nel ben più corposo "2666".
La storia si svolge nel Cile a ridosso della dittatura di Pinochet e termina molti anni dopo con una caccia all'uomo. Il ricercato è un serial killer con evidenti turbe psicopatiche che miete vittime tra i poeti emergenti degli anni '70.

La storia, essendo un noir, ha momenti raccapriccianti ma, come piacevole contrasto, c'è il racconto del narratore che si sviluppa con molta
A much better primer for 2666 than The Savage Detectives - this one's short and involves the same sort of style, themes, characters, geographic all-over-the-placeness, lists of books and writers (some real, some so obscure they may as well be made up), soaring peaks, and dry valleys, but in this one there's skywriting! . . . Definitely a recommended wading pool if you're wary of the hype/heft of 2666 (for which the average rating on goodreads right now, somehow, on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, is 5. ...more
اولين كتابي بود كه از اسداله امرايي خوشم اومد! چون ديگه از اون جملهي آزارنده ي اين نويسنده يا اين كتاب اولين بار توسط مترجم به فارسي زبانان معرفي مي شود خبري نبود و اجازه داده بود خواننده از ترجمه ي خوب؛ از انتخاب خوب و از نثر خوب مترجم و بالتبع نويسنده ي اصلي لذت ببره
كتابي از يك تروتسكيست ِ منتقد ادبي راجع به شيلي طبعا شيلي با كودتاي پينوشه و مصيبت هايي كه دانشجويان و ساير اقشار در اون دوران از طرف راستي هاي افراطي متحمل شدند. روايت جذابيه
Distant Star is a chilling homily to the vile excesses of the Pinochet regime in Chile and the demented fascist aesthetics of a particular pilot/poet. Mr. Bolano's prose smokes off the page and I am left with the message that art matters; art has consequences. He also hints that the creative process is far from a placid undertaking. Distant Star is written in a hard boiled style that follows in the footsteps of the classic noir writers and (as another reviewer noted) post-modern noir-ish writer ...more
Jun 25, 2008 R. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
A satire on the insular world of creative writing; and the skywriting literature of Carlos Wieder forecasts, perhaps, the ephemeral writing of the Internet (the book was originally published in 1996 when the World Wide Web was still figuring itself out).

This book is for anybody who has ever cracked open the latest Granta, Tin House or Kenyon Review with that stomach-deep sick feeling (that primal intuition) that you'd see the name of a creative writing class rival in the Table of Contents.

Jan 15, 2012 Pat rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Trina, Jennifer
Recommended to Pat by: Jim
A wonderful and creepy novel about a self-taught fascist poet who becomes the darling of the Pinochet regime. The story is told in the first person by an poet in exile in Europe. Chillingly. Like Borges, Roberto Bolano unfolds the mystery from a distance but it feels up close and personal. The novel also brought to mind Paul Auster's book, "Leviathan."

I love the long lists that embellish the narrative. And the mortadella sandwiches that seem to be emblematic of a mother's love.
Si se quiere conocer el mundo Bolaño sin invertir en tiempo que exige 2666 o Lis Detectives Salvajes, esta es una novela que representa fielmente su universo.
[Contiene spoilers] Qué placer leer a Roberto Bolaño. Nunca, pero nunca de los jamases, fue mencionado en algunas de mis clases de castellano. Quizá ni la profesora lo conocía. "Estrella distante" es un libro cortito que relata la historia de Carlos Wieder, un teniente de la FACH que hizo de las suyas (como tantos otros) durante la dictadura militar y quien, bajo un nombre falso, se integra en un club de poesía de jóvenes universitarios de izquierda en Concepción. Cómo es de cruel el destino. Es ...more
Não se põe em causa o talento de Bolaño e o que fez pela cultura sul americana, mas interessa saber se é capaz de agradar a todos nós no que toca a entretenimento. A mim, nem tanto.
(a puxar para as 3 estrelas, sim?)

Admiro a capacidade de criar este alter-ego, e de misturar ficção e realidade de tal maneira que nos faz duvidar do que realmente aconteceu ou do que está apenas na cabeça do autor. Admiro igualmente que se ponha no papel o retrato do Chile na era de Salvador Allende e depois na era
Andrea Carolina
Acabo de terminar Estrella Distante, me ha quedado una sensación de tristeza melancólica, de esas que son como irremediables, no inútiles. Uno no sabe que pensar exactamente al acabar de leer este pequeño libro. Bolaño ha logrado lo que ningún escritor ha logrado en mi sentir tristeza de verdad por el horror latinoamericano.

A parte de todo ha nombrado en tres historias de hombres admirables a uno de los psicólogos mas influyentes en mi emocionalidad, Fritz Perls. Insisto que nadie se ha acercad
pierlapo  quimby
Devi essere un pazzo, un pazzo senza speranza, se non la pianti subito di leggere questo inutile commento, non spegni quella macchina di silicio, non esci di casa, non entri nella prima libreria che incontri e non compri questo libretto, questo condensato della visione letteraria e del genio di Roberto Bolaño, un libretto che sembrerebbe poca cosa se non fosse che per otto miseri euro ti lascerà con la bava alla bocca per tutto il tempo in cui lo terrai aperto con una sola mano (il formato è dav ...more
Patricia Murphy
You can't convince me that I don't love Bolano. In fact I'll admit I'm a little addicted. Can I be honest and say he reminds me of a Chilean DFW? Just the right amount of detail, social commentary, and snark. One of my favorite lines of this novella occurred on page 85: "Tatiana came from an illustrious military family, and was, in her own slightly mad way, an independent woman, who always did as she pleased, went out with whom she fancied, and held outrageous opinions, which were, in many cases ...more
Aug 11, 2007 Jawrsh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: autodidacts
There are a number of reasons to like roberto bolano (I'm not going to figure out how to write the diacritical 'enya'), the least of which being that pretentious poetry hipsters will give you ups because you have read him. Reasons are:
He was a wonderful writer, sort of like Bruno Schulz mixed with Juan Rulfo, but less mystical;
He really only wrote this shit to feed his kids;
He provided you with a survey of the literature you should bother with, and showed you why you should bother;
He's pretty. S
Empece el libro sin saber de que iba y realmente me ha gustado, se puede ver porque a pesar que aun estoy luchando por mantener mi concentración lo pude terminar en un día.

Pensé que seria un libro más político y si bien esta ambientado en la época de la dictadura esta se no presenta como el eje de la historia sino más bien como el contexto en el que estos horribles hechos ocurren y y si que son horribles.

Me ha gustado sobre todo el aire impersonal que le da a la novela el hecho que si bien el na
What a wonderful, magnificent, tender book... Bolaño is... was a genius
Ben Dutton
Vintage Books continue their Roberto Bolaño series with Distant Star, a short work translated into English by Chris Andrews in 2004, and which won the prestigious Valle-Inclán Prize.

Distant Star, a short novella, not even 150 pages long, opens with an explanation by Bolaño that the story that follows is a fuller retelling of a story first recounted in Nazi Literature in America (1996), a version that would be ‘a mirror and an explosion.’ However the note is not all it seems to be, and neither is
It’s a short time before Pinochet’s military coup in Chile. A university poetry group is joined by an enigmatic student, Carlos Wieder, who soon starts to explore various forms of poetry and meaning of art within the new Nazi parameters. What follows is a strange, sometimes even grotesque and gruesome mixture of poetry and fascism.

The story is narrated through the eyes of one of the students from the same group who is imprisoned shortly after the coup, and then leaves the country for political r
Novelist and poet Roberto Bolano died in 2003 at the age 50. Before his death he had became known as an important writer in the Spanish-speaking world. His two huge novels, The Savage Detectives (1998, 2007 English translation) and 2666 (2004) were particularly acclaimed. Since his death the majority of his works have been translated into English and he’s become the not so obscure cult literary name to drop. His last novel – 2666 was completed in a frenzy of writing before his death and emerged ...more
From now on, all of my reviews are being copied and pasted from my blog, because I'm amazingly lazy.The link is below.

"Distant Star was kind of confusing for me. Like The Savage Detectives, it doesn't really have a flowing plot, but at the same time it does have a plot, if that makes sense. Since Distant Star is pretty much a novella, everything moves kind of quickly and the characters don't really develop much. It was more like a really long short story with chapters, which is pretty much a nov
Second book I have read by Bolano and sadly for second time the author doesn't manage to impress me. I don't know what's wrong between me and his books but I cannot find this special feature that will make me say "what a book!". I respect and I adore the author's writing style and language, but I can't say the same for his books in general. Like in the "detectives" here as well the plot revolves around literature. We find dozens names of poets, authors and their works within the pages and more s ...more
Sarebbe un giallo. Sarebbe un poliziesco. Sarebbe un thriller. Sarebbe tutte queste cose, e probabilmente lo è, ma, essendo un romanzo scritto da Roberto Bolaño, non ti sentiresti di consigliarlo a nessun amico appassionato dei generi suddetti, a meno che non abbia voglia di addentrarsi in un mash up cupo e ossessivo in cui il mistero si risolve (si risolve?) grazie alle armi della critica poetica, letteraria e cinematografica che accompagna la narrazione dal principio alla fine. In quale altro ...more
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  • The Literary Conference
  • Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico
  • Bonsaï
  • Senselessness
  • Lands of Memory
  • Poemas y antipoemas
  • Bartleby & Co.
  • Seven Nights
  • The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel)
  • The Obscene Bird of Night
  • Altazor, Or, a Voyage in a Parachute: Poem in VII Cantos (1919)
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 Last Evenings on Earth Amulet

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“In the current socio-political climate, he said to himself, committing suicide is absurd and redundant. Better to become an undercover poet.” 8 likes
“Estou falando sério:o segredo está em proporcionar um enterro digno às pessoas de poucos recursos, inclusive com alguma elegância (nisso os franceses, acredite, são campeões), um funeral de burgueses para a pequena burguesia e um funeral de pequenos-burgueses para o proletariado, esse é o segredo de tudo, não só das empresas funerárias, mas da vida em geral!” 1 likes
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