The Third Reich

The Third Reich, by Roberto Bolano

The main character in this novel is an arrogantly brilliant German war games player named Udo Berger. His board game of choice is called Third Reich, a reenactment of World War II. Udo and his girlfriend Ingeborg are on vacation in Costa Brava, Spain. She comes to enjoy the beach and he is there to study for a championship tournament to be held later in the year. They run into various interesting characters at the resort where they are staying and much debauchery ensues. However, one of the characters stands out from the rest, a mysterious European named El Quemado, who is not what he seems. Udo is drawn to him, and soon they are engaged in a Third Reich match. Udo is used to the virtual world of war games and when he meets reality in the form of El Quemado and his shadowy mentor, it will upend his life and make him question everything he holds dear.

 Robert Bolano was a Chilean novelist and poet. He was posthumously awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction for his novel 2666. Susan Sontag referred to him as “the most influential and admired novelist of his generation.” Third Reich was written in 1989 and found among Bolano’s papers after his death.


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