- Focus On: Fiction Fridays
- The Third Reich
CP Note: Written in 1989 and found among Roberto Bolaño’s papers after his death, The Third Reich is a stunning exploration of memory and violence. Reading this quick, visceral novel, we see a world-class writer coming into his own—and exploring for the first time the themes that would define his masterpieces The Savage Detectives and 2666.
The main character, 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 he and his girlfriend, Ingeborg, 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 night, Charly disappears without a trace, and Udo’s well-ordered life is thrown into upheaval; while Ingeborg and Hanna return to their lives in Germany, he refuses to leave the hotel. Soon he and El Quemado are enmeshed in a round of Third Reich, Udo’s favorite World War II strategy game, and Udo discovers that the game’s consequences may be all too real.
The excerpt shared here provides a view of El Quemado and their game of Third Reich. It starts with Udo on the phone with his friend Conrad. Charly has already disappeared and Hanna and Ingeborg have returned to Germany.[More...]