- Roberto Bolano
- New Directions, New York, 2006
Amulet is another of the many Bolano works of fiction that have come out in English since his untimely death in 2003. It expands on the story of a character from his epic novel The Savage Detectives.
Auxilio Lacouture, the self-titled Mother of Mexican poetry, tells her story about being the sole holdout, trapped in a faculty bathroom, during the Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico in 1968. In this real-life massacre, the Mexican police stormed a group of student protestors at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The police opened fire, killed many, and arrested many others.
I found a great review at bostonreview.net, which ends with: “Bolaño’s fiction is located at the frontiers that supposedly separate literature from politics. In Amulet he focuses his literary powers on a single episode and a single voice. Placed within the context of Bolaño’s two most important novels—The Savage Detectives and the posthumous 2666—Auxilio’s story of the university’s occupation becomes a metaphor for the political disasters that plagued Latin America in the ’60s and ’70s, and, more poignantly, a symbol of a time in which passionate conviction and generosity seemed still possible, in both literature and life.”
This copy is in fine/fine condition. These matte black dust jackets are prone to scuffing damage, so be careful if you intend to buy a copy on-line.
Already, these fine condition true first editions are going for as much as $135. However, if you can accept minor condition issues, you can find copies for as low as $35.
Amulet came out in Spanish in 1999. This 2006 (American) New Directions edition is the true first English language edition, ably translated by Chris Andrews. Oddly, the British first edition didn’t come out until 2009.