Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Third Reich by Roberto Bolano; Read by Simon Vance

There are just a few voice performers’ names on audio editions that will sell me on the book -  Simon Vance is surely one of them.  He has been dubbed ”Best Voice” so often the award should be retired.  He has narrated for some 26 years and his beautiful English voice continues to capture listeners.  It has been said of his readings, ““His voices are so natural and fit so well with their characters that the listener is completely transported into the story.”   That is certainly true of Roberto Bolano’s riveting The Third Reich.

    The narrator of our story, Udo Berger, a German war games champion, is on vacation with his girlfriend, Ingeborg.  They meet another German couple, Charly and Hanna, along with a number of local folk. the Wolf, the Lamb, and El Quernado who show them the darker side of this vacation resort.  Sometimes to Ingeborg’s consternation Udo chooses to stay in his room updating, correcting his game, a replay of World War II.  Third Reich is the name of the game and Udo consistently plays the part of Germany.

    One night Charly vanishes, absolutely disappears.  While in time Ingeborg and Hanna return to Germany Udo will not leave.  He remains in his hotel room where he is soon involved in a game of Third Reich with El Quernado.  Games have winners and losers, do they not?

    Complex, sometimes perplexing, always astounding The Third Reich is unforgettable.

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