'Now I am a mother and a married woman, but not long ago I led a life of crime': so Bianca begins her tale of growing up the hard way in Rome in A Little Lumpen Novelita.
Orphaned overnight as a teenager - 'our parents died in a car crash on their first vacation without us' - she drops out of school, gets a crappy job, sees a terrible brightness at night, and drifts into bad company. Her little brother brings home two petty criminals who need a place to stay. As the four of them share the family apartment and plot a strange crime, Bianca learns she can drift lower . . .
Electric and tense with foreboding, with its jagged, propulsive short chapters beautifully translated by Natasha Wimmer, A Little Lumpen Novelita - one of the last novels Roberto Bolano published - delivers a surprising, fractured fairy tale of taking control of one's fate.
Roberto Bolano was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He grew up in Chile and Mexico City. His first full-length novel, The Savage Detectives, won the Herralde Prize and the Romulo Gallegos Prize, and Natasha Wimmer's translation of The Savage Detectives was chosen as one of the ten best books of 2007 by the Washington Post and the New York Times. Bolano died in Blanes, Spain, at the age of fifty. Described by the New York Times as "the most significant Latin American literary voice of his generation", in 2008 he was posthumously awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for his novel 2666.