As Pankaj Mishra remarked inThe Nation, one of the remarkable qualities of Bolano's short stories is that they can do the "work of a novel."The Return contains thirteen unforgettable stories bent on returning to haunt you. Wide-ranging, suggestive, and daring, a Bolano story might concern the unexpected fate of a beautiful ex-girlfriend or a dream of meeting Enrique Lihn: his plots go anywhere and everywhere and they always surprise. Consider the title piece: a young party animal collapses in a Parisian disco and dies on the dance floor; just as his soul is departing his body, it realizes strange doings are afoot--and what follows nextdefies the imagination (except Bolano's own).
Although a few have been serialized inThe New Yorker andPlayboy, most of the stories ofThe Return have never before appeared in English, and to Bolano's many readers will be like catnip to the cats.