The Skating Rink
Author: Roberto Bolaño
Translator: Chris Andrews
Publisher: New Directions (2011)
A phenomenally unusual three-way murder mystery.
With a murder at its heart, Roberto Bolano’s The Skating Rink is, among other things, a crime novel. Murder seems to have exerted a fascination for the endlessly talented Bolano, who in his last interview, according to The Observer, “declared, in all apparent seriousness, that what he would most like to have been was a homicide detective.”
Set in the seaside town of Z, north of Barcelona, The Skating Rink is told in short, suspenseful chapters by three male narrators, and revolves around a beautiful figure skating champion, Nuria Martí. A ruined mansion, knife-wielding women, political corruption, sex, and jealousy all appear in this atmospheric chronicle of a single summer season in a seaside town, with its vacationers, businessmen, immigrants, bureaucrats, social workers, and drifters.