The Skating Rink

by Roberto Bolaño

Hardcover, 2009

Status

Available

Publication

New Directions (2009), Edition: 1, 208 pages

Description

When figure skater Nuria Marti is dropped from the Olympic team, a civil servant secretly uses public funds to build her a skating rink in the ruins of a seaside mansion, but Nuria has affairs and soon the rink becomes a crime scene.

User reviews

LibraryThing member V.V.Harding
Three men's voices alternative in telling what might or might not be a single story, possibly about but certainly including a crime, and certainly illuminating the lives of a group of largely unfocused young people trying to make lives for themselves in the resort town of Z, not far from Barcelona. The Skating Rink will not disappoint Bolaño fans who value his first-person narratives from characters with poetic expression and surprisingly observed detail.

The three voices narrating The Skating Rink are perhaps less distinct than they might be, although their fairly similar age might partly account for them sounding a bit alike. Several women, young and older, are deftly and attractively portrayed, and, we feel, have the best part of Bolaño's attention.

The air of illusion, even magic, tends to disarm the reader in the best way, as the story unfolds of the abandoned mansion in which a dream of a most prosaic of the narrators is conceived and born. That the dream has a short life within the confines of the novel doesn't detract from its luminous appeal, and the open ending admits possibilities of continued transformation.

Chris Andrews has again provided a virtually invisible translation, so clearly in what we English-language readers of Bolaño recognize as his characteristic fiction voice that its accuracy seems supported by its beautiful measured cadences.


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LibraryThing member nohablo
The Skating Rink. Bolano holds our heads in the murk and ooze of an anonymous Spanish ruin like a goddam baptism. Opaque and atmospheric and admittedly narrow-scoped, but perfect in realizing and stomping out its small circumscribed territory. THE SKATING RINK is very much a minor work, with minute and petty motivations and consequences, but still surgically articulated and detailed.… (more)
LibraryThing member jasonlf
An interesting, enjoyable book. Although the review said it has a lot in common with a police procedural that was the least interesting aspect. The kaleidoscope narrative from the perspective of three different narrators -- many of whom don't like each other -- centers around a a beautiful ice skater, a rink a bureaucrat diverts money to build, an aging opera singer, and her young friend. Unique, looking forward to reading more by Bolano.… (more)
LibraryThing member donato
A fun, "cubist noir" puzzle about how our lives can be fragmented and yet remade.
LibraryThing member John
An interesting novel. Set in the seaside town of Z in Spain, the novel spins around three narrators variously linked to each other and to a beautiful figure skating champion who is devastated when she is dropped from the national team. A besotted municipal official (chief advisor to the mayor) secretly builds her a skating rink, with public funds, in an abandoned castle on the outskirts of town so that she can train to try to regain her position on the team. One of the other narrators is a small-time businessman living in Z, but not from there and he gives a job as a night watchman at a campsite to the other narrator who is a failed writer/poet. The lives of these four people, plus two female vagrants who seem to survive more by their wits than anything else, intertwine and when a murder occurs, the municipal official is wrongly accused in addition to his disgrace for the misuse of public funds. The novel moves slowly and its interest is in the interplay of the characters, each providing a different perspective on the other and certainly different from their self-images.… (more)
LibraryThing member nosajeel
An interesting, enjoyable book. Although the review said it has a lot in common with a police procedural that was the least interesting aspect. The kaleidoscope narrative from the perspective of three different narrators -- many of whom don't like each other -- centers around a a beautiful ice skater, a rink a bureaucrat diverts money to build, an aging opera singer, and her young friend. Unique, looking forward to reading more by Bolano.… (more)
LibraryThing member TomMcGreevy
A wonderful evocative story. Overtly a murder mystery but in actuality so much more. Strong characters, well developed, through three parallel first person narratives. Lived up to its hype for me. Excellent!
LibraryThing member Eoin
3.5 A good, not exceptional, short Bolaño novel. Big ups for being a murder-mystery! Worth it for the signature multi-voiced narrators and emotional range, though not the scope or depth he has shown elsewhere.
LibraryThing member idiotgirl
Still trying to figure out whether I liked this book. Very interesting narrative. Three men. Short first person chapters around the central place where a murder happens--the Skating Rink. Listened, the voices with three different men. Central pivot is the skater for whom the Skating Rink is built. But many other stories revolve. And in the end, though there is a murder, there isn't really a mystery or a resolution. I suspect I may listent again--or read. Intriguing to make sense of this very interesting book.… (more)
LibraryThing member soylentgreen23
A book that works better than it ought to, following three characters towards a tragic finale.
LibraryThing member jonfaith
Costa Brava noir rife with corruption and a homicidal miasma as refracted through three fragmented POVs which overlap and occlude with a masterful touch.
LibraryThing member Voise15
Poetic novella, told from the perspective of three protagonists. Brief but rewarding, but not a "sizzling cocktail" of murder mystery - more an exploration of longing and frustration.

Language

Original language

English

Barcode

11304
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