By Troy Patterson
Updated February 22, 2008 at 05:00 AM EST

Dropping his poker face only to wink drolly, Roberto Bolaño creates a faux biographical encyclopedia chronicling some 30 imaginary ultra-right-leaning authors in Nazi Literature in the Americas. These include an anti-Semitic beatnik poet, a Cuban who pens an erotic anti-American fantasy, and Argentina’s Luz Mendiluce Thompson (”a lively pretty child, a pensive plump adolescent, and a hapless alcoholic adult”), who cherishes the baby photo of herself in Hitler’s lap until her dying day. This darkly charming trifle is all very clever — but merely clever. If you prefer some meat with your postmodernism, pick up the late Chilean author’s Savage Detectives. B+

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