Monsieur Pain (Paperback)
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A Bolano classic. The Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo is in the hospital, afflicted with an undiagnosed illness and unable to stop hiccuping. His wife calls on an acquaintance of her friend Madame Reynaud: the mesmerist Pierre Pain. Pain, a timid bachelor, is in love with the widow Reynaud and agrees to help. But two mysterious Spanish men follow him and bribe him not to treat Vallejo. Ravaged by guilt and anxiety, Pain does not intend to abandon his new patient, but his access to the hospital is barred and Madame Reynaud mysteriously leaves Paris. Another practitioner of the occult sciences enters the story (working for Generalissimo Franco, using his mesmeric expertise to interrogate prisoners) as do Mme. Curie, tarot cards, an assassination, and nightmares. Meanwhile, a haunted Monsieur Pain wanders the crepuscular, rainy streets of Paris. . . .
About the Author
Roberto Arlt was born in Buenos Aires in 1900. He had a deeply unhappy childhood and was brought up in the city's crowded tenement houses - the same tenements which feature in The Seven Madmen. As a journalist, Arlt described the rich and vivid life of Buenos Aires. As an inventor, he patented a method to prevent ladders in women's stockings. Roberto Arlt died suddenly of a heart attack in Buenos Aires in 1942. He was the author of the novels The Enraged Toy, The Flamethrowers, Love the Enchanter and several plays.
The poet Chris Andrews has translated many books by Roberto Bolano and Cesar Aira for New Directions.