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The Third Reich

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  3,335 Ratings  ·  386 Reviews

On vacation with his girlfriend, Ingeborg, the German war games champion Udo Berger returns to a small town on the Costa Brava where he spent the summers of his childhood. Soon they meet another vacationing German couple, Charly and Hanna, who introduce them to a band of locals—the Wolf, the Lamb, and El Quemado—and to the darker side of life in a resort town.

Late one

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 22nd 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1989)
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Mike Puma
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing

Goddammit! I’m pissed, pissed and a little troubled. I just finished The Third Reich, within the half-hour. I’m not one to pore over what I’ve just read—rehashing the ‘what did it means’ or a book’s merits or flaws, I like it or don’t, set a course and run with it. A hastily formed first impression, whether with books or people, is good enough for me. Opinionated, I suppose, but it’s me.

So, what do I make of The Third Reich? What indeed? Part of me, the part I favor, tells me this is every bit a

Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would you like to play a game? What kind of game? Oh, a board game. Like Sorry or Monopoly? Yes, like that. What’s it called? It’s called 'The Third Reich'. That ‘Third Reich’? Is there any other? I suppose not. What are the rules? You know the rules. Everybody knows the rules. Who’s who? Since it’s my game and I’m the world champion, I’ll be Germany. You can be the Allies. But I think I know how this turns out. Don’t I? You mean you think History is immutable? Well, there are revisionists, of c ...more
Diogenis Papadopoulos
Το συγκεκριμένο μυθιστόρημα το διάβασα περισσότερο για να γνωρίσω τον R. Bolano, συγγραφέα του 2666 (μιας και έχω ακούσει και διαβάσει τόσα για το 2666). Αλλά απογοητεύτηκα...
Στα συν είναι η γραφή του.
Αλλά από 'κει και πέρα η ιστορία μπάζει από παντού. Φυσικά, αυτό μπορεί να οφείλεται και στο γεγονός ότι το βιβλίο εκδόθηκε μετά το θάνατο του συγγραφέα. Όπως και να 'χει πάντως, αν και ξεκινάει με καλές προοπτικές και προσπαθεί να σε βάλει σε ένα σκοτεινό και απειλητικό περιβάλλον, μετά από κάποιο
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Bolano has a knack for creating terror from virtually nothing. There are no real pretexts for his moments of tension but they are felt by the reader as if she is reading the most horrifying passage. Personally, I have never read anything that accomplishes this. Its similar to creating mood and tension with music but much more difficult. Its like a dream where your dream self is in great danger but the whole time your conscious self knows its a dream and everything is ok but the two can't communi ...more
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Listened to this after my mama found the CDs for $7 and asked if I wanted them (I did). I'd tried to read the hardback when it came out -- didn't so much fail it as I knew I'd need to read it when I had more patience. Glad to have the complete audiobook on my phone now (the future is here). A solid 4.25 stars rounded down since it's not fair to the five-star books of the world to round up. Loved Udo Berger, the meticulous, obsessive narrator gamer, super-German, jotting his daily memories over t ...more
Jordi Via
-¿Sigues visitando la biblioteca, Quemado?
-¿Y sólo sacas libros de guerra?
-Ahora sí, antes no.
-¿Antes de qué?
-De empezar a jugar contigo.
-¿Y qué clase de libros sacabas antes, Quemado?
-¿Libros de poesía? Qué hermoso. ¿Y qué clase de libros eran ésos?
El Quemado me mira como si estuviera frente a un paleto:
-Vallejo, Neruda, Lorca... ¿Los conoces?
-No. ¿Y aprendías los versos de memoria?
-Tengo muy mala memoria.
-¿Pero te acuerdas de algo? ¿Puedes recitarme algo para que me haga una idea?
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Harry by: Longlong Cao
Shelves: reviewed
Existentialism and Shifting Reality on Vacation

I have read some interesting reviews about this book. Sadly they all seem disappointed with it. I on the other hand found it quite thrilling.
At first I must admit that Roberto Bolano was a new name to me, but fresh eyes can usually see things that others cannot. While I think that other readers approached "Third Reich" as a Holy Grail, a lost unpublished manuscript only to find it unpolished I was optimistic.
A German war games champion Udo Berger o
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ένα στριφνό, παράξενο βιβλίο, όπου τα -εν πολλοίς- ανεξήγητα συμβάντα διέπονται από μια θερινή δυσθυμία, ένα σκοτάδι, αν και τελούν υπό τον Ισπανικό ήλιο, στις ακτές της Μεσογείου. Η πρωτοπρόσωπη εξιστόρηση μας βάζει να παρακολουθούμε από εξαιρετικά κοντά, ίσως σχεδόν κατοψικά, πάνω από το ταμπλώ του Τρίτου Ράιχ, αναμένοντας την επόμενη κίνηση μιας παρτίδας που δεν εξελίσσεται με βάση τα ιστορικά τετελεσμένα, αλλά ακολουθώντας αυτά που θα μπορούσαν ή που θα έπρεπε να είχαν συμβεί, όπως ακριβώς σ ...more
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was my third Bolaño novel, (the first two being "2666" and "The Savage Detectives"). Familiarity with where he would eventually end up as a novelist makes reading "The Third Reich" an eerily fun experience. It also illuminates the central themes of his later works. "The Third Reich" is the name of a strategic board game that mirrors the battle chronology of World War II, and Bolaño has made the champion player a young German on vacation in Spain. It's worth noting that Bolaño had a special ...more
Oct 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2012
I basically love and drool over every tiny scrap of Bolano's writing that we've been thrown since his death, but this one just didn't have the same effortless beauty that all of his previous writing contains. It's not Bolano's fault; The Third Reich is a previously unpublished book purportedly written in 1989 and found among his papers after his death, and one gets the impression he wasn't quite finished polishing it or else wasn't ready for it to see print. The climax was, well, anticlimactic. ...more
Alejandro Orradre
Novela de ambiente asfixiante, en la que Bolaño mezcla una trama esquizofrénica al tiempo que hilvana una historia paralela que se alarga en el tiempo a modo de contraposición.

Podemos encontrar, como no, elementos clásicos de las obsesiones del escritor chileno a lo largo de la historia que se desarrolla en El Tercer Reich: personajes extraños, momentos en los que el tiempo parece detenerse, constantes saltos temporales y la poderosa sensación de estar leyendo hechos reales pero que de algún mod
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I admittedly and without shame, despite the obvious implications, have developed a fetish for every scrap of Bolaño's writing that materializes before me. I didn't even like his poetry at first (I prefer poetry, especially poetry of Bolaño’s trajectory, to any form of prose), but I have started to like his poetry as well. I can't fairly lay The Third Reich against The Savage Detectives or 2666, or even The Skating Rink or anything else. The manuscript was found among his papers after his death, ...more
Feb 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
My initial review was just those three letters. But maybe I need to add more. This book is a perfect addition to the shelf of any reader who needs to convince others that their reading tastes are higher brow than most. Like Murakami and so many others on that same shelf, I wonder if the stilted writing and slow pacing is the result of poor translation. Pages and pages where nothing happens, and where the protagonist seems to be stuck in a slow-motion time warp, make for dull reading. Ever w
Dr Zorlak
Trescientas y pico de páginas de narrativa inane acerca de un huevón que juega wargames, su novia y dos panas que encuentra en un resort de la costa catalana. Cómo alguien habría podido ponerse a escribir tan largamente esta novela sin destino es algo que no me cabe en la cabeza. Una de esas ideas que se le ocurren a los escritores, pero que solo el escritor mismo entiende. Lo único que saqué de este pantano de huevadas fue la curiosidad por esos benditos juegos de guerra. Peladores el Quemado, ...more
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was a gamer once. I played Dungeons and Dragons. And then graduate school happened and all I had time for was Magic the Gathering. I can understand the appeal of gaming, even historical war game, which I never played. Yet the appeal of playing a game about WW II and seeing if Germany can win seems rather well strange.

I think Bolano felt the same way because in this book he examines how some people lose the connection to reality when they play games. It is no surprise that his central character
Nov 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: translation, fiction
at the time of his death in 2003, roberto bolaño was all but unknown to english audiences (despite accolades aplenty throughout the spanish-speaking world). earlier that same year, by night in chile became the first of his works to be published in english. now, some eight years later, sixteen of the late chilean's books (not including melville house's interview collection) are available in english translation; an average of two per year since his passing.

the third reich (tercer reich), found amo
Simon Hollway
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: latin-america, 2015
Just like the scene Bolano flawlessly describes, the first two thirds of the novel shoot past - The Third Reich is a holiday poolside page-turner sketching a summer holiday hook-up between two disparate couples. Ironically, once the holiday season it dazzlingly dramatises comes to an end, so the book itself starts to peter out. It all goes a bit topsy-turvy, tense and nervy....I couldn't put this book down right up until Charley's demise. Then it began to drag: the dream sequences became clunky ...more
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
λοιπόν.. ενδιαφέρουσα περίπτωση πραγματικά. σε καθηλώνει με ένα τρόπο ενοχλητικό, όπως κάπως ενοχλητικά και μονίμως ανεξήγητα είναι αυτά που συμβαίνουν στο αφηγητή. Αυτή ακριβώς η μόνιμη απορία/ενόχληση είναι η διαδικασία της αφήγησης, το άβολο μέτρημα του ευατού του απέναντι στον ίδιο και τους άλλους. Νομίζω ότι ο Μπολάνιο δεν επιθυμεί να ευχαριστήσει τον αναγνώστη του, αλλά μάλλον να τον ταλαιπωρήσει μαζί με τον ήρωα του, γι αυτό άλλωστε αφηγείται σε πρώτο πρόσωπο. Ταυτόχρονα προσφέρει συνέχει ...more
Reader, meet Udo Berger: German war games extraordinaire, on vacation in Spain with his girlfriend. You can read his diary in Roberto Bolaño's posthumous volume The Third Reich. You can read of their exploits, lounging around the beach, clubbing until late in the morning hours, meeting other German tourists and locals with names such as the Wolf and the Lamb.

Now, reader, meet El Quemado (translation: "the burn victim"), the owner-operator of a pedal boat rental business, who may or may not be h
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muy entrenido. Se supone que es la primera novela de Bolaño pero se publicó de forma póstuma, quizás la encontró no tan buena. Quizás es demasiado impecable en las analogías entre los wargames que juega el protagonista y el devenir de sus vacaciones.
Yo creo que está más que bien.
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Third Reich is a book driven more than anything by memories of the past; just as the titular game imagines possible alternative outcomes, Udo Berger approaches his vacation as if it is a lucid dream, with him hoping to relive in many ways his childhood memories of vacations at the same locale, while engineering a few outcomes to be more desirable. Early on, while thinking back on his childhood vacations, Berger says, "It would be interesting to remember the dreams I had here, at the Del Mar, ...more
Jan 13, 2015 rated it liked it
This review originally appeared in The Brooklyn Rail ,/a>,

Roberto Bolaño’s lulling prose lends beauty to a dangerous Spanish beach community in The Third Reich, the latest of his novels to be translated by Natasha Wimmer. At the opening, protagonist Udo Berger shares a visceral experience with the reader:

Through the window comes the murmur of the sea mingled with the laughter of the night’s last revelers, a sound that might be the waiters clearing the tables on the terrace, an occasional car
Hugo Emanuel
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Sou relativamente novo no universo de Roberto Bolaño. A primeira vez que me dispôs a explorar o seu legado literário não me pôs com meias medidas e comecei logo pelo monumental "2666" - apesar de o ter feito com pouco ou nenhum conhecimento da vida pessoal do autor além dos factos de que este falecera e de que os suas obras tinham quase tantos acólitos como detractores (a maioria dos críticos pareciam adorar os seus trabalhos mas a opinião do publico geral parecia estar algo dividida). Considero ...more
Angela Antoniou
Δεν συνηθίζω να κάνω reviews γιατί το τι αρέσει στον καθένα είναι υποκειμενικό. Όμως. Έχω αφιερώσει ώρες διαβάζοντας reviews αυτού του βιβλίου για να βρω τι είναι αυτό που λάτρεψαν οι άλλοι κι εγώ δεν αντιλήφθηκα διαβάζοντας το. Τι ειναι αυτό που μου διέφυγε, αυτό που έχασα.

Χρόνο. Νιώθω πως έχασα χρόνο.

Όσες θετικές κριτικές κι αν διάβασα, δε μου άλλαξαν άποψη. Ούτε ενα αστέρι.
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, war
I have included the War tag, though this is not a book about war, but wargames. I was involved in wargames at the same period as that covered in the book, the 80s, when for a short time it seemed as if wargames could break out from the nerd ghetto to become a serious hobby.

The book, like all of Bolaño's work, has several layers of meaning, from the risk of taking hobbies too seriously, to taking history as a game, forgetting history's lesson, to a picture of a time and place in the Spanish tour
Lupe Luna
If your expectations of Roberto Bolano were set up by Los Detectives Salvajes or 666, this shorter and older novel (unpublished during Bolano's life) may be a little dissapointment. But if you just love to know more about this author or come fresh to him, it is a quite interesting book: captivating, uncomplicated and clearly in crescendo.
Curiosity about the role that the war game was going to play in the development of the action was essential for me to continue after the first few pages -as I d
Luís Paz da silva
Este é um livro estranho. Começa por ser um pouco banal (as férias na Costa Brava descritas por um jogador internacionalmente famoso de jogos de guerra de tabuleiro), alguns personagens são excessivamente estereotipados e dá a ideia de que as pontas soltas do romance são fruto de um trabalho não retocado. Mas depois pensa-se um pouco no assunto e se calhar não é bem assim. Ou então é e não passa de um livro algo enfadonho, mas bem escrito. Roberto Bolaño faleceu tragicamente cedo. Mas quando se ...more
I have to admit to not really keeping up with the chronology of Bolano's works, so don't really knwo where this fits in his timeline with respect to the Savage Detectives or 2666. This is very different from some of his other works though, where the thread between them and his two major works are a lot clearer. The setting is also very different and it took a while to re-acclimatise to the Bolano world of black humour, intrigue, sexual yearning and suspense.

Overall I enjoyed it, although it fade
Instead of reading this I could have been reading a Hardy or Faulkner. This is Bolano's first novel, found after his death. Probably written in the 1980s. It just goes on and on. Udo, go home! This style of writing is basically a storyboard in words. I would like to know if Bolano was influenced by Albert Camus. I can certainly see Camus in this writing.

While reading The Third Reich, I thought of a better board game, The Tired Rhich. Could be played on several levels.

I didn't find The Third Re
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Lamb winked at me and sat on the bed, behind the maid, miming sex in a way that was doubly silent because even his ear-to-ear smile was turned not toward me or Clarita's back but toward... a kind of realm of stone... a silent zone (with raw staring eyes) that had surreptitiously established itself in the middle of my room... say, from the bed to the wall where the photocopies were tacked.

3 Bolaño stars, which is to say I loved it.
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la aguilisima pluma 8 32 Feb 12, 2013 08:37AM  
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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...
“Happy are those who own nothing.” 4 likes
“The town was sunk in a kind of crystal ball; everyone seemed to be asleep (transcendentally asleep!) no matter if they were walking or sitting outside. Around five the sky clouded over and at six it began to rain. The streets cleared all at once. I had the thought that if it was as if autumn had unsheathed a claw and scratched: everything was coming apart. The tourists running on the sidewalks in search of shelter, the shopkeepers pulling tarps over the merchandise displayed in the street, the increasing number of shop windows closed until next summer. Whether I felt pity or scorn when I saw this, I don't know. Detached from any external stimulus, the only thing I could see or feel with any clarity was myself. Everything else had been bombarded by something dark; movie sets consigned to dust and oblivion, as if for good.” 2 likes
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