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Woes of the True Policeman

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  1,666 ratings  ·  218 reviews
Taking us back to the world and characters of his acclaimed masterpiece, 2666, Woes of the True Policeman is Roberto Bolaño’s last, unfinished, novel.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 16th 2014 by Picador (first published 2011)
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3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,666 ratings  ·  218 reviews


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Jenn(ifer)
Dec 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bolaño completists
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: Harper's
Shelves: read-in-2013

It’s like my friend made me this sandwich – the fresh, artisan bread was so good it could have been a meal all by itself. I was famished, and I blindly took a big bite of the sandwich only to find to my surprise that between the two delectable slices of bread was a strange mix of avocado, cherry cordials and some sort of fabric that I think might have been silk or some sort of synthetic silk – I’m not quite sure. All of the ingredients on their own were good enough, but thrown together in this s
...more
Greg
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Life, of course, which puts the essential books under our noses only when they are strictly essential, or on some cosmic whim

The Part about Death

Roberto Bolano, apparently, worked on this novel from roughly 1980 until his death in 2003. He never published it. It's not a finished novel. He mentioned it from time to time to people by the name it's been published with, but it just sat on his computer in files in various states of completion.

Sort of like, say, Pale King.

Pale King was a self-contain
...more
Jonfaith
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amalfitano remembered a time when he believed that nothing happened by chance, everything happened for some reason, but when was that time? He couldn't remember, all he could remember was that at some point this was what he believed.

Calvino notes in his Six Memos that Borges began writing fiction as a particular exercise; he would imagine philosophical novels that had been poorly translated into Spanish and write synopses of such. Bolaño's own inchoate 20 year project most likely gave birth to 2
...more
Carla
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Estranha arte narrativa esta de Roberto Bolaño que me obriga a gostar tanto de um livro tão inenarrável.
jeremy
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, translation
unlike most writers, for whom each work of fiction is a realm only unto itself, roberto bolaño freely shared characters, settings, storylines, and major themes throughout his novels and short stories. so it is with woes of the true policeman (los sinsabores del verdadero policía), a novel begun by the late chilean in the 1980s and left unfinished at the time of his death in 2003. first published in his native spanish in 2011, woes of the true policeman is a well-polished, if incomplete, effort. ...more
trovateOrtensia
Di come la vita promette molto a molti, e non mantiene con nessuno.
Di come è passato il tempo in cui “stare svegli voleva dire sognare”, e di come il sonno riserva ormai solo incubi.
Di come la vita dispensa sorprese, e tranelli, e inganni e colpi bassi e colpi mortali, e di come può capitare a ciascuno di noi che un mattino da “ottoni ci si risvegli trombe”, per dirla con Rimbaud, il poeta-ragazzo che “cammina da solo nella notte”, così evocato, così sempre presente in queste pagine.
Di come n
...more
Javier Avilés
Entusiasmado y decepcionado a partes iguales. El entusiasmo proviene de reencontrarme con la prosa precisa de Bolaño, con su manera tan, digamos, matemática, de construir personajes y entornos.
La decepción era previsible. No hay nada nuevo en este texto inconcluso. Es, como esperaba, una explotación póstuma de la obra de un autor al que apreciamos mucho y cuya obra quedó truncada. Los sinsabores hubiese formado parte de 2666 si esta novela en cinco entregas hubiese podido ser concluida. Concreta
...more
pierlapo  quimby
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: latinoamericani
Non leggete le prime quattro pagine del romanzo.
Non dite 'che titolo curioso, leggiamo solo l'incipit, vediamo come inizia questo recupero postumo del folle cileno'.
Non dovete farlo assolutamente.

...

Non mi avete dato retta, eh?
Siete fregati.
Oscar
’Los sinsabores del verdadero policía’ es una novela póstuma de Roberto Bolaño, un trabajo sobre el que trabajó desde los años 80, con continuas ampliaciones y revisiones, una obra inacabada por tanto, aunque buena parte de la misma el propio Bolaño dio por terminada. Tras saber esto, esperaba una novela puzzle, montada para dar el pego de ser una novela legible. Pero, afortunadamente, estamos ante una obra con entidad propia.

En la novela se pueden encontrar puntos en común con otras obras de Bo
...more
Chad Post
Interested to see what my students think of this book. Aside from an excerpt from 2666 that I gave them earlier in the semester, the vast majority have never read Bolano, in which case, this might not feel quite so unfinished and sloppy. I understand the monetary and non-monetary reasons why these Bolano books are coming out, yet at the same time, this is kind of a disservice to his reputation and could backfire and, instead of drawing new readers into the world of amazing Bolano books, turn the ...more
Hadrian
Assorted scraps. We see parallels to 2666 - the writer Arcimboldi, the professor Amalfitano, long stretches of murders written in starchy newspaper prose. As incomplete and muddled as these fragments are, they might have been part of the great 2666, and are therefore of interest to the Bolaño fan or the completist.

Antônio Xerxenesky
Releitura para a tese. Interessante apenas para malucos por Bolaño. É meio que um ensaio (no sentido de prática, não do gênero literário) para 2666.
Ted Mooney
This volume, which Bolaño is said to have worked on from the 1980s until his death in 2003, is most likely to appeal to hard-core Bolañistas and novelists like myself, though it is full of interesting bits. It seems to be a side project to his masterly 2666, also left in a state of incompletion (though you wouldn’t know this unless you were told) at his death, and involves some of the same characters that appear in that novel, Amalfito and Rosa in particular. However, the versions of these chara ...more
Rafa
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Da la impresión de estar leyendo el sexto libro de 2666 que Herralde decidió convertir en libro independiente; cosas del dinero.
Bill Crane
I have read nearly everything by Bolano. At his best you are carried along by his rhetorical flow, and the story itself does not necessarily have to lead anywhere (although it is nice if it does.)

He is not at his best here, though... despite a fairly defensive note from his widow at the end of the novel claiming otherwise, this was clearly an effort that he had picked up several times and then abandoned. The best parts of the story he scavenged for 2666's Part Two, including the same Oscar Amalf
...more
Adam
Nov 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1970-present, prose
The stream of posthumous Bolaño publications is slowly coming to an end. The inside of the dust jacket on Woes of the True Policeman calls this his "last, unfinished novel." I really thought I'd have a lot to say about this. I finished it sooner than I expected, and unlike David Foster Wallace's The Pale King or Bolaño's also unfinished (though to a much lesser extent than Woes) 2666, Woes really feels incomplete. The ending of this published book is, however, still fitting, and I love how Bolañ ...more
SurferRosa
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: latinoamericana
Le rece di Oronzo
ovvero
La serie dello yacht
episode 3

Cari i miei pirlotti, leggere e viaggiare sono in fondo la stessa cosa e quando te ne puoi stare sul tuo yacht di 20 metri senza niente da fare tutto il giorno hai un sacco di tempo per leggere e per pensare e in più viaggi. (Oltre che risolvere dei Samurai-Sudoku extra hard che voialtri col cazzo).
Mentre io e il mio servo milanese Gilberto scendiamo lungo la costa thailandese occidentale devo ripensare a Genesio, un ragazzo che conobbi a Rebi
...more
Paul Gleason
In my estimation, Bolano is the greatest writer to come out of Latin America since the great Boom of the 1960s. It's a no-brainer that The Savage Detectives and 2666 are two of the greatest novels ever written and that Bolano holds his own with any novelist who's put pen to paper.

Which brings us to Woes of the True Policeman, which is the last of Bolano's posthumous novels (he died of liver failure in 2003 and sadly never got to see the international success of his work).

What is Woes? Well, it's
...more
Liviu
Of all the posthumous - of course not including 2666 - R. Bolano releases this is the best hands down despite its incompleteness as the wonderful prose and vast knowledge of the author are on full display; the five component parts - whose origination is discussed after the end of the book - are of three kinds; the first 3 follow the semi-picaresque adventures of a Latin American study academic and his teenage daughter as he is booted from place to place when his homosexual inclinations are disco ...more
DRM
Dec 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely one for Bolano diehards, others should watch out for what they're in for here and probably start with Savage Detectives or By Night In Chile. It's largely a series of sketches of characters and themes that would be vastly expanded and refined in 2666 but it still has its moments. Personally, I could read Bolano's sketches of imaginary novels for an entire book and probably not get bored. But other times, at its worst, it feels like it's only the new footage of a "director's cut" witho ...more
Xavier
Jun 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans de Bolaño
Cuando se publicó en la librería costaba 38 dólares ! Tenía dos opciones, la primera era robarlo como Bolaño aconseja con sus libros, la segunda era despistar al personal y leerlo de un tirón. Elegí la segunda opción. Al igual que Estrella Distante o Amuleto que son outakes de otras obras de Bolaño creo que esta novela es el outake de la parte de Amalfitano, solo que en este caso del pasado. No pienso que sea crucial leer esta obra para entender el contexto de la narrativa de Bolaño, a ratos se ...more
Carloesse
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quattro o cinque stelle a questo romanzo postumo, incompleto o incompiuto che sia (o non sia), sicuramente però "ricostruito", sicuramente diverso da quello che lo stesso Bolano avrebbe mandato alle stampe (se mai avesse potuto decidere di concluderlo, perchè ho come l'impressione che questo materiale fosse invece destinato ad essere continuamente rivisto ed accumulato fino alla sua morte, anche se fosse campato altri cinquant'anni)?
Alla fine ne concedo quattro. Ma solo per l'incazzatura di ess
...more
Peter Evans
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roberto Bolaño ranks as one of my most revered writers. It was obviously sad to finish what was said to be his last work to be published; and further, that it could not take its suggested place as the final section of 2666. The writing is of course infectious, and Natasha Wimmer is an extraordinary translator. It is time to re-read all his great works.
César Galicia
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ahora que conozco más de cerca a Amalfitano y que ya por fin me entero de las tramas en las novelas de Archimboldi, me urge leer de nuevo sus parte en 2666. Qué bonito, qué complejo, qué dinámico es el Bolañoverse. Aquello que perdimos cuando murió es incalculable.
Učitaj se!
Aug 10, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Strašno naporan roman. Dosadno, nezanimljivo, prepuno nasumičnog iznošenja raznih događaja i sjećanja koja jedna s drugima često nemaju nikakve veze, i uz to, puno besmislenih nabrajanja bez kraja i konca. Odustala nakon 2/3.
Jordi Via
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No está nada nada mal. Lo he pasado bien, aunque, eso sí, me he quedado con ganas de más. Otro buen Bolaño al saco, seguimos.
Strivetoengage
I read the translation by Natasha Wimmer into English of Roberto Bolaño’s final, unfinished novel Woes of the True Policeman. I think that I should have started with his most famous book The Savage Detectives instead. I actually started reading that in 2005 when a fellow in my Spanish class recommended it to me but I didn’t finish it. I didn’t love Woes of the true policeman! It was faithfully compiled posthumously by his publisher and maybe if he had completed it himself I would have liked it m ...more
aconeyisland
Non lo sapeva ma avrebbe continuato a investigare (satanismo in portineria) Ebbene, la cosa interessante, la cosa veramente interessante di questa faccenda, era che Padilla (memoria prodigiosa pensò Amalfitano sempre più intrigato) aveva già avuto notizia di questo Delorme. Lo citava Arcimboldi in una vecchia intervista del 1970 riportata su una rivista barcellonese del 1991 e lo citava Albert Derville in un saggio su Arcimboldi contenuto in un libro sulla narrativa francese degli ultimi anni. N ...more
Jose Alexander
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, ficción
Me inclino a pensar que el misterio que la obra Bolaño nos plantea no existe, o de existir, ha estado siempre frente a nuestras propias narices y don Bolaño está desternillándose de risa allá en esa nube desde la que mira fracasar nuestras intenciones.

Entre medio, leemos.
Cameron
I hate giving three stars to a Bolaño book, but 'Woes' is clearly more of an unfinished compendium of character sketches than a novel. Much as I appreciate the book's existence as a supplement to Bolaño's magnum opus, '2666,' it remains just that: rough sketches of certain plot elements from the aforementioned tome.

Other than the minor changes explored below the book remains consistent with '2666.' All in all, though, it's still a fun and easy read, and I recommend it to anyone who has read '26
...more
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Bolaño y su poesia entre su narrativa. 1 4 Jan 26, 2015 09:45AM  
Getting Into Roberto Bolano 2 17 Dec 12, 2012 06:50AM  
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3,482 followers
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.

H
...more
“[Los alumnos de Almafitano aprendieron...]
Que la principal enseñanza de la literatura era la valentía, una valentía rara, como un pozo de piedra en medio de un paisaje lacustre, una valentía semejante a un torbellino y a un espejo. Que no era más cómodo leer que escribir. Que leyendo se aprendía a dudar y a recordar. Que la memoria era el amor.”
5 likes
“The Russians opened his mouth and with a pair of pliers the Germans used for other purposes they seized his tongue and yanked. The pain made tears spring to his eyes and he said, or rather shouted, the word coño, cunt. With the pliers in his mouth the exclamation was transformed, coming out as the word kunst. The Russian who spoke German stared at him in surprise. The Sevillan shouted Kunst, Kunst, and wept in pain. The word Kunst, in German, means art, and that was how the bilingual soldier heard it and he said that the son of a bitch was an artist or something. The soldiers who were torturing the Sevillan removed the pliers along with a little piece of tongue and waited, momentarily hypnotized by the discovery. Art. The thing that soothes wild beasts.” 3 likes
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