I have little to say about this story. It is framed, as some other Bolaño stories are, as a story told to him by someone else. It involves Burns, an American who becomes involved with two women who live together, along with their dogs. They ask for his protection against a killer and in the process of his protection, he kills the “killer.” He eventually realizes that the man he has killed is no killer. Later, Burns himself is killed, presumably by his successor, just as he was apparently his victim’s successor. And that’s about it. I have no idea why The New Yorker thought this was worthy of publication.
February 8, 2010: “William Burns” by Roberto Bolaño