Antwerp (novel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
First edition (Spanish)
AuthorRoberto Bolaño
Original titleAmberes
TranslatorNatasha Wimmer
PublisherAnagrama (Spanish)
New Directions (English)
Publication date
Published in English
Media typePrint

Antwerp (Amberes in Spanish) is a novella by the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. It was written in 1980 but only published in 2002, a year before the author's death.[1] An English translation by Natasha Wimmer was published in 2010.

The book shows various traces of stories that are intertwined in a confusing way, using an experimental language, more of a poetic narrative than in the rest of his novels. Its title refers to the Belgian city of Antwerp, although it does not play any role in the work.

Considered by Bolaño's literary executor Ignacio Echevarría to be the big bang of the Bolaño universe, the loose prose-poem novel was written when Bolaño was 27. Antwerp is short and fragmentary, composed of 56 pieces (which could be seen as vignettes or sketches) with a loose narrative structure. Though there are some recurring characters and story lines, there is no central narrative. Many of the subjects dealt with become Bolaño's common material for his other works of fiction - crimes and campgrounds, drifters and poetry, sex and love, corrupt cops and misfits.

Bolaño had once stated that "The only novel that doesn't embarrass me is Antwerp.".[2] In the introduction he wrote for the book in 2002 Bolaño claimed:

"I wrote this book for myself, and even that I can't be sure of. For a long time these were just loose pages that I reread and maybe tinkered with, convinced I had no time. But time for what? I couldn't say exactly. I wrote this book for the ghosts, who, because they're outside of time, are the only ones with time."[3]


  1. ^ "Amberes - Bolaño, Roberto - 978-84-339-6832-6". Editorial Anagrama. Retrieved 2023-06-29.
  2. ^ quoted on back cover of Antwerp. New York: New Directions Publishing, 2010.
  3. ^ Bolaño, Roberto. "Total Anarchy: Twenty-Two Years Later", Introduction to Antwerp. New York: New Directions Publishing, 2010. ix.

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Timpane, John. "Tales by Chilean master of malaise". Retrieved 25 July 2011.