Beyond Law and Order: Detecting State Violence and the Search for Justice in Roberto Bolaño's Distant Star

Andrew Yallop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Violent political unrest and militarised regime change was endemic to Latin America in the 1960s and 70s. As a result, writers working within the genre of detective fiction produced work influenced by the socially critical and cynical attitude of American hardboiled fiction. Known as neopoliciaco fiction, this work responded to circumstances where violence was perpetrated and authorised by governments against their own citizens in the name of political and social stability. Bolaño's unique adaption of crime fiction in Distant Star combines neopoliciaco crime writing with the testimonio, a genre which resists dominant narratives of history that downplay and even actively deny the criminality of state actors. In Distant Star, Bolaño explores how detective work functions within a paradigm beyond that of law and order, and the implications this has for the pursuit of reconciliation and justice in post-regime Chile.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-47
Number of pages15
JournalCrime Fiction Studies
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

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