An author’s reputation generally rests on his more weighty books. Yet sometimes there are smaller and more fragile works that though not as worthy of critically adoration have the ability to move and demonstrate exactly why a writer is considered one of the immortals.
Robert Bolano’s slight novella ‘Little Lumpen Novelita’ is a moody, nihilistic tale of a young girl who becomes the lover of an elderly, blind and obese ex-actor in order to steal from him.
This is a teenager who is deadened to the world by the death of her two parents in a car accident and this trauma colors her view of life. Her equally messed up brother invites two shady friends to stay with them and they proceed to sexually assault her every other night. She accepts this blindly and even admits to not being able tell which of the friends visits her on any given night. She has totally switched off in an effort to numb the pain of a miserable existence.
Bolano brilliantly tells the story from her perspective creating a thoroughly credible narrative voice that in relatively view pages allows her to reclaim her life from the dark forces that have taken it over.
A tragic but ultimately beautiful story.