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La pista de hielo

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  3,197 ratings  ·  320 reviews
Tres versiones de un crimen van trazándose en esta novela que transcurre en un anónimo pueblo de la costa española: la de un chileno con pretensiones de escritor que ha ejercido toda clase de oficios eventuales hasta salir adelante; la de un mexicano, también poeta y desarraigado, que sobrevive como vigilante nocturno en un camping, y la de un emprendedor catalán metido a ...more
Paperback, 188 pages
Published November 1st 2003 by Seix Barral (first published 1993)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  3,197 ratings  ·  320 reviews

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Jim Fonseca
A haunting novel by the much-acclaimed, late Roberto Bolano.

A cast of characters from both sides of the tracks assemble in a coastal resort town in Spain. We have a governmental official, second-in-command to the woman mayor of the city; an opportunistic entrepreneurial businessman who runs tourist gift shops and bars; a down-and-out Chilean poet (who could that be?); a beautiful national champion figure skater and several semi-homeless folks who live on-and-off in abandoned houses and a campgr
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: south-american
I think I’m rather on the fence about this one; Bolano’s first novel. It is a mix of genres; a touch of murder mystery, which is entirely secondary to the plot. Throw in obsession, political corruption, immigration, poets, a seaside resort on the Costa Brava, a homeless opera singer, an Olympic skater, a ruined mansion, the influence of Borges, a secret skating rink, a love triangle and lots of individual oddities.
The novel is set in a Costa Brava town over a summer season and the narrativ
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That's Right. It's five star time! If this rating were a rap song it would be telling you to Pop Champagne and fill your cup with Patron. Then the Auto-Tune would begin. But since it is a review on an internet book site, it is coming at you in five little orange stars, which, according to Good Reads mean "It was amazing."

I have to admit I feel a little bad giving this short near-perfect work the five star treatment when I did not grace Bolano's masterwork 2666 with such a full conste
An odd little book, but the flavour is distinctively Bolaño. The plot (which is quite intricate for a novel of this length) is told from a narrative viewpoint that rotates between three characters. This device is interesting as it illuminates the characters and events from different perspectives, but it is not entirely successful. Sometimes it has the effect of getting in the way, of clouding and over-complicating the story. The voices are difficult to differentiate initially, but one gets the h ...more
Sep 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the New Directions series that came out this year, The Skating Rink is a brief, intense, and very memorable novel from Bolano. It could have been one of the many branching stories that populate 2666, it even shares some themes, and even scenes, with that monster of a book. It is a story of murder, obsession, small-time political corruption, the immigrant experience in Spain, and (because it is Bolano), madness, sex, violence, ghosts, poets who are detectives, society's dropouts, nightmares, and fr ...more
Lee Klein
Dec 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-re-read
Read this in way too many sittings, sort of failed it I think, since it's dense and narrated by three not-so-distinct voices, like a polyphonic warmup for the Savage Detectives (someone on here said something similar). The rink itself, constructed inside a ruined palace, is a beautiful image of obsession. The blades of a skate are a lethal weapon, you know. The voice of Enriq, the fat civil servant lover of the skater, I loved, but not so much the other two. Read it distractedly thanks to wailin ...more
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd been debating whether or not to try any of Bolaño's shorter stuff (i.e. anything not Savage Detectives or 2666), and I'm glad I did. The murder mystery aspect is pretty underwhelming, but as far as I'm concerned Bolaño's real gift was always describing multiple characters from ensemble points of view, if that makes sense. Like in The Savage Detectives, he spent 300 pages or so having approximately eight characters describe their interactions with Ulises Lima and Arturo Belano.

In The Skating Rink, he increa
May 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translation, fiction
this being the first novel that bolaño wrote, it would be too easy to disregard it as an amateurish effort. while it certainly is not the most accomplished work in his acclaimed oeuvre, it is, nonetheless, an important minor contribution. the skating rink presages many of the stylistic and thematic elements that bolaño would later employ in almost all of his other works. poets, crime, violence, bureaucracy, youth, love, sex, jealousy; the components that made his later works so successful are all pr ...more
Lee Foust
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really good novel. It's engrossing, readable, and reveals its plot perfectly. The triple first person narrators' tales are intertwined in a winning fashion, showing us three versions of events that gives us perspectives that a single narrator never could have done. The setting is interesting--and obviously familiar to Bolano himself since we see more or less the same place in both Antwerp and The Savage Detectives I seem to recall. And the MacGuffin (as Hitchcock would call it) of the skating rink itse ...more
Matthew Balliro
Aug 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
About halfway through The Skating Rink, I was already quite sure that this was my favorite out of all Bolano's short novels (the others being Distant Star, By Night in Chile, and Amulet; I didn't count Nazi Literature in the Americas because I wouldn't classify it as a novel, really, but I still enjoyed TSR more). I spent the rest of the text trying to figure out just why this was (and, of course, just enjoying it).

I think the reason I liked this book so much is that it reminded me, more than any other book, of my fi
Dec 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Bolano--2666 is my favourite novel of the last decade--but I struggled to finish this short book. There are a few nice things about the book: the skating rink itself is a wonderful idea, and the character of Caridad is nice, and there's a great description of an imaginary avant-garde novel in the book. Many of Bolano's preoccupations reappear in this book: the caravan park from Antwerp, the interest in seaside vacation towns (The Third Reich, "Last Evenings on Earth"), and a flirtation wi ...more
An amazing first novel, published when Bolaño was 40 years old. He had been a poet and writer for most of his adult life, and so the quality of this book is higher than you would expect from a first novel.

The story is told by three different male narrators - two immigrants, one established, one fresh off the boat, and one Spanish citizen/bureaucrat/schlub - about the events of a summer season in a Costa Brava tourist town. Secrets, mysteries, crimes petty and grand, topped-off by une
MJ Nicholls
So once again I find myself pulled into the world of novellas and short fictions, knowing I can finish these books in a day or two, feeding my book addiction with quicker and thicker thrills, piling up the novels until somehow the outside world subsumes itself into the fictional realm, leaving me free to write my own lurid and oblivious end.

I wanted Monsieur Pain, but some lightning snarfler got in there first, leaving me with this charming whodunit narrated by three quite samey-sounding
I like that it tells the story from the character's perspective. Three main cast and three different stories, segregating to each chapters. Small stories and events, pretty easy read with lil mystery and scandal, drama and thrilling encounters. Quite anticipated with the mysterious crime part-- think it was beautifully written and structured, lovely rhythm of narratives and heart to heart confessions sort of.
May 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Costa Brava noir rife with corruption and a homicidal miasma as refracted through three fragmented POVs which overlap and occlude with a masterful touch.
Henry Martin
My first Bolaño and certainly not the last. Unfortunately for Bolaño, my reading of The Skating Rink came on the tail end of reading a few exceptional works in a row. Thus, The Skating Rink only receives three stars.

The story itself was interesting, albeit none too exceptional. Where he scores high with me is in the narrative, or rather the narrators. Three different individuals narrate this story, which is hard to write. Unfortunately, while they start off with fairly distinct voices, they sor
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
So Bolaño's second novel is a mystery as well, only this time he writes a full on murder mystery. He plays with the genre fairly well if you ask me. Bolaño does know how to bring a sense of dread and an uncanny atmosphere to his settings; he keeps on pushing the reader away from the obvious (and somewhat typical) crime plot to make us focus on those lonely and vagabond characters which you never get to know completely. If the mystery remains succesful in the end it is because the characters play ...more
Feb 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: latino
I'm on the fence about whether I'll read more from Bolaño. I'm not a big fan of detective novels, though I've read my share of journalistic novels or murder mysteries. Capote's In Cold Blood and Garcia Marquez's News of a Kidnapping come to mind as the only things I've read in this vein. The characters were very well-developed, original and realistic. The political aspect of the novel succeeds, as in GGM's novels, by dint of Orwellian small town (X, Y, Z…) economics and corruption.

I love the narrat
This is Bolaño's first published novel and the first of his novels I've read. Told by three narrators, a Catalan public ifficial, a Chilean expat business owner, and a down and out Mexican poet who is working for the Chilean, an old friend.

At first, it seemed like Bolaño was telegraphing what was going to happen in this seaside murder mystery. By the midway point, I was sure I knew what was going to happen, but once the crime was revealed, I was pleasantly surprised. And after the re
The Skating Rink is not really a mystery, although there is certainly a death and a surprise revelation of who the murderer is. And that resolution, motiveless as it is, is unsatisfying. But forget genre. The genre is Bolano. Once you've read 2666, you need a fix like this.
Jan 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though it's his first and least Bolaño-esque book, all the essential elements are still here. Bolaño stand-in (Gaspar) as the campgrounds watchman (which he'd later revisit in Detectives and also in Antwerp), multiple points of view, the desperados, vagrants, and vagabonds that populate his stories. I'd compare it to his other Detectives spin-off, Amulet, though I like this one better.
Sentimental Surrealist
This novel, often erroneously reported as Bolano's first (it was predated by an early version of Monsieur Pain entitled the Elephant Walk and Confessions of a Joyce Disciple to a Morrison Fanatic, the later of which has yet to be translated into English; Antwerp was also written beforehand; it was, however, the earliest chronologically to receive an English translation, at least if one takes into account that Antwerp was left unpublished for decades. Bolano's bibliography was a MESS) hinges on t ...more
Karolyn Sherwood
Sep 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Roberto Bolaño book! I can easily say the man is a poet and a literary genius. Without having read any of his other works, it's impossible for me to say how this stands in his oeuvre, but I can say it was a fantastic book to read. In case anyone reading this review has not yet read Bolaño, I can say this novella is an excellent entry for the curious. It is light enough and accessible enough that no one need be intimidated (like I was).

On the surface, The Skating Rink is a st
An Te Chu
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a well written story set in my favorite season and involving my favorite level of government (summer and municipal)
Terry Pitts
May 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"The Skating Rink" is narrated by three men who live in a small town near Barcelona. Collectively, they tell the back story of a murder and a scandal. Enric, one of the narrators heads a city department and is dating a female figure skater who is vying for the Spanish Olympic team. When she is mysteriously banned from the rink where she has been practicing, he misappropriates city funds in order to build a skating rink within an abandoned mansion. Eventually, a homeless woman is found stabbed to ...more
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My love for Bolano bars all criticism. But I will say the death of a certain professional athlete was constantly anticipated and never fulfilled. In the making of this book, no figure skaters were harmed.

But I kind of feel like it would have made more sense that way, tho I have nothing against figure skaters (actually I do, I've always felt an unreasonable hatred/contempt for ice skating). Maybe it is too normal a thing to expect from Bolano; that when a secret skating rink, an Olympic skater,
Avnish K.
I've heard a lot of good things about Bolano, but this his first effort is probably not a good place to start if you want to tickle your taste buds. I like to read first books by authors before reading their magna opera (in Bolano's case '2666'), just to give a bit of background.

This has a promising premise, and the way the novel is constructed is interesting (three converging first-person narrative threads), but it just didn't seem to deliver, it lags; it is tedious to read even though the lan
Parrish Lantern
This book had me puzzled, it reminded me of another book, and at first I thought it was Lawrence Durrell’s “ The Alexandria Quartet” which as a tetralogy offers us four perspectives via four novels on the same series of events. But that wasn’t it. It was then I realised that it was a tale I’d read last year in Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s Rashomon and 17 other stories, this tale "In the bamboo grove" concerns the murder of a traveller & the alleged rape of his wife, and is told through the differin ...more
Allan MacDonell
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unlike so many novels by Roberto Bolano, The Skating Rink is not a major work by Roberto Bolano. Another variance it has to the canon of Bolano, as least that portion of the canon I have read, is that almost every character in The Skating Rink is better off at the end of the novel than when the book began—other than the character who is stabbed to death. And even this victim is only dispatched after leaving behind a self-voiced epitaph of absolute wisdom and bloody hope: “Never trust anyone who works in ...more
Kimmo Sinivuori
Nice Roberto Bolano story of embezzlement and murder set in a Catalonian seaside town that take place during the high season. Bolano writes well and he is very good in creating a palpable atmosphere with short sentences. One of the central places in the story, a camping site, is described so well that one can almost smell the dry earth and the Pinja trees. The same applies to the main characters of which three narrate the events that lead to the murder. The story would be almost too straightforw ...more
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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
“We all have to die a bit every now and then and usually it's so gradual that we end up more alive than ever. Infinitely old and infinitely alive.” 23 likes
“Όλοι είμαστε συνηθισμένοι να πεθαίνουμε κάθε τόσο και σιγά σιγά,ώστε μέρα με τη μέρα γινόμαστε πιο ζωντανοί,είναι αλήθεια.Απείρως γέροι και απείρως ζωντανοί.” 12 likes
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