(From the publisher):
Paris, 1938. The Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo is in the hospital, unable to stop hiccuping. His wife calls on an acquaintance of her friend Madame Reynaud: the mesmerist Monsieur Pain. A timid bachelor, Pain is in love with the widow Reynaud, and agrees to try to use his powers to help save the poet's life. But then two mysterious Spanish agents intervene, determined to keep him from treating the patient.
Terrible anxiety enters the story--along with another practitioner of the occult sciences, tarot cards, nightmares, Mme Curie, WWII, hopeless love, and an assassination. Poor Monsieur Pain, haunted and guilty, wanders the crepuscular, rainy streets of Paris . . .
One of Roberto Bolano's moving and most tender novels, Monsieur Pain creates a galaxy of historical figures (Cesar Vallejo and his wife Georgette, the mesmerist Pierre Pain, and Mme Curie and her daughter Irene all actually existed) only to explode it gleefully in a final "Epilogue for Voices," scattering the docu-drama and opening the book onto vast, untold hinterlands.
Original title: Monsieur Pain
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ European→ 20th Century
Fiction→ General Fiction→ Literary Fiction/classics