Monsieur Pain – ARC

Added June 11, 2011
  • Monsieur Pain
  • Roberto Bolano
  • New Directions, U.S.A. 2010

monsieur-pain-front-cover Here is a recent Bolano advance readers copy. In pictorial paper wraps the same as the first hardcover edition, and with a proper copyright page, this publication is a fairly standard advance review issue.

Check my post for Roberto Bolano’s By Night In Chile to see an earlier and very unusual advance copy.

I have talked about the fact that the terms advance readers copy and uncorrected proof, while most often used interchangeably, technically describe two different things, but here we have ADVANCE READERS’ COPY on the front cover and UNCORRECTED PROOF on the back. monsieur-pain-back-cover

There are two mistakes on the copyright page shown below. The book came out in early 2010, but it states that the translation copyright is 2011. Lower down it says First published as a New Directions book in 2011. Minor mistakes or miscalculations like this can sometimes increase value a little.

It seems New Directions only produce one edition of Bolano hardcovers. Shortly thereafter, they put them out in paperback format, with the same cover art as the hardcover and the advance copy.

Here are a couple of interesting Bolano facts. His several smaller novels and novellas, of which Monsieur Pain is one, have not been translated into English in the same order as the original Spanish publications. Also, the first two English translations, By Night In Chile, and Distant Star, were first published in England by Harvill Secker, and only in paperback. All the rest have been published first by New Directions Books out of New York, in hardcover.

This book came out in Spain in 1999, eleven years before the English translation. There are no advance copies for sale on AbeBooks today. These are extremely rare. Prices for first edition hardcovers go up to about $80.

monsieur-pain-copy In their starred review, Publishers Weekly said, “One of Bolaño’s first novels, this already displays his brilliant, alchemical gift for transmuting the dead-ends of life into sinister mysteries.”

Writing for the New York Times magazine, Francisco Goldman had this to say about Monsieur Pain: “Bolaño wrote with the high-voltage first-person braininess of a Saul Bellow and an extreme subversive vision of his own.”

All of Bolano’s writing, except for his two major works, The Savage Detectives and 2666, have been translated by Chris Andrews.

It is tragic that Roberto Bolano died so young. He was a remarkably inventive and truly original writer, and I believe his work will remain relevant far into the future.

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