The Third Reich

  • by Roberto Bolano, Natasha Wimmer (translator)
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 8 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On vacation with his girlfriend, Ingeborg, the German war games champion Udo Berger returns to a small town on the Costa Brava where he spent the summers of his childhood. Soon they meet another vacationing German couple, Charly and Hanna, who introduce them to a band of locals—the Wolf, the Lamb, and El Quemado—and to the darker side of life in a resort town.Late one night, Charly disappears without a trace, and Udo’s well-ordered life is thrown into upheaval; while Ingeborg and Hanna return to their lives in Germany, he refuses to leave the hotel. Soon he and El Quemado are enmeshed in a round of Third Reich, Udo’s favorite World War II strategy game, and Udo discovers that the game’s consequences may be all too real.
Written in 1989 and found among Roberto Bolaño’s papers after his death, The Third Reich is a stunning exploration of memory and violence. Reading this quick, visceral novel, we see a world-class writer coming into his own—and exploring for the first time the themes that would define his masterpieces The Savage Detectives and 2666.


What the Critics Say

“Novelists tend to be remembered for their most remarkable characters, and in Udo Berger, Bolaño has created someone complex, sometimes frustrating and absolutely unforgettable . . . Compassionate, disturbing and deeply felt, [The Third Reich is] as much of a gift as anything the late author has given us.” (Michael Schaub, NPR)
“Bolaño was a writer with tricks up his sleeve, and he distributed his wiles across many genres: novellas, poetry, short stories, essays and the epic 1,100-page 2666. So what’s The Third Reich like? Capering, weird, rascally and short. Imagine a cross between Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, the CLUE board game and a wargames fanzine. It’s a scathing novel with a lot of exuberance to it, not unlike the man who wrote it . . . The Third Reich is giddily funny, but it is also prickly and bizarre enough to count among Bolaño’s first-rate efforts.” (The Economist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great And Greatly Over My Head

What did you love best about The Third Reich?

Wondering what was going to happen.

Who was your favorite character and why?

They were all too weird to like.

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Many. Mr. Vance's work is always perfect.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?


Any additional comments?

This author is such a good writer. What he does is similar to slight of hand. I always came back to listen, just knowing that something really major was just about to happen. Even though it never did, I actually came away feeling as though I'd just listened to a really great book!

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- meg "meg"

A gripping, fascinating mystery

What did you love best about The Third Reich?

The way it pulls you right in, and keeps you in a place you may never have been.

What did you like best about this story?

Atmosphere, characters, plots and how it sticks with you for days after you have finished it. And maybe parts of it, for the rest of your life.

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

He never intrudes himself into the narrative.

If you could take any character from The Third Reich out to dinner, who would it be and why?

The Burned Man. And why? We can't talk until you've read the book.

Any additional comments?

Bolano is unpretentious, a fine story teller. If you like Graham Greene, Colm Toibin or Marques, you most likely wont want to miss Bolano.

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- wminot

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-22-2011
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio