Monsieur Pain: Book summary and reviews of Monsieur Pain by Roberto Bolaño

Monsieur Pain

By Roberto Bolaño

Monsieur Pain

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Book Summary

Paris, 1938. The Peruvian poet César Vallejo is in the hospital, afflicted with an undiagnosed illness, and unable to stop hiccuping. His wife calls on an acquaintance of her friend Madame Reynaud: the Mesmerist Pierre Pain. Pain, a timid bachelor, is in love with the widow Reynaud, and agrees to help. But two mysterious Spanish men follow Pain and bribe him not to treat Vallejo, and Pain takes the money. Ravaged by guilt and anxiety, however, he does not intend to abandon his new patient, but then Pain’s access to the hospital is barred and Madame Reynaud leaves Paris…. Another practioner of the occult sciences enters the story (working for Franco, using his Mesmeric expertise to interrogate prisoners)—as do Mme. Curie, tarot cards, an assassination, and nightmares. Meanwhile, Monsieur Pain, haunted and guilty, wanders the crepuscular, rainy streets of Paris...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [A] brief, wonderfully eccentric novel ...one of Bolaño's first novels, this already displays his brilliant, alchemical gift for transmuting the dead-ends of life into sinister mysteries." - Publishers Weekly

"Owing primarily to the publication of the critically acclaimed The Savage Detectives and 2666, Bolaño is undergoing a posthumous revival, as more of his manuscripts are being discovered, published, and translated. For that reason alone, libraries will need to acquire Monsieur Pain, but it's not up to the standard of Bolaño's other works." - Library Journal

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Author Information

Roberto Bolaño Author Biography

Roberto Bolaño was born in Chile on April 28, 1953.  For much of his life he lived a nomadic existence, living in Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, France and Spain. During the 1970s, he formed an avant-garde group called infrarealism with other writers and poets in Mexico where he lived after leaving Chile when it fell under military dictatorship. He returned to Chile in 1972 but left again the next year when General Augusto Pinochet came to power.

In the early eighties, he finally settled in the small town of Blanes, near Gerona in Northern Spain, where he died on July 15, 2003 of liver disease while awaiting a transplant.  He is survived by his Spanish wife and his son and daughter. 

Bolaño received some of the Hispanic world's highest literary ...

... Full Biography

Name Pronunciation
Roberto Bolaño: roh-bAIR-toh bo-LAR-neo

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