By Night in Chile

By Night in Chile Character List

Sebastian Urrutia Lacroix

Urrutia Lacroix is the protagonist of the novel. He is a Chilean priest and By Night in Chile is his death bed confession. He rises to literary fame and becomes well known amongst the Chilean literary elites of the day, later associating with the brutal Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. He also takes on the pen-name Ibacache to write his own literary criticism. He is haunted, however, by the "wizened youth" which is his former, younger self, accusing him of committing crimes against his soul, as well as crimes against the people of Chile for ignoring their poor condition and instead pandering for political power.


Farewell is Chile's foremost literary critic. Urrutia remarks that all of Chile's literary elite must pass through Farewell's criticism like ships coming through port. Farewell introduces Urrutia to Chile's literary society and gives him access to literary greats of the time.

Pablo Neruda

Neruda was a real historical figure and one of the world's greatest poets and South American voices. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, though he comes under Bolano's critical gaze as a character who associates with the literary elites while feigning interest in the poor of the country.

Don Salvador Reyes

Don Salvador is a friend of Urrutia's who tells him the story of meeting the great German writer Ernst Junger at the home of a young Guatemalan artist in Paris.

Ernst Junger

Junger is a former German military officer and novelist, a real historical figure. Junger notes Don Salvador in his autobiography, thereby validating Don Salvador in the eyes of his peers.

Mr. Raef

Mr. Raef is a shadowy figure who sends Urrutia on a mission to Europe; later he convinces him to teach lessons on communism to General Pinochet.

Mr. Etah

Mr. Etah is Mr. Raef's partner. He also convinces Urrutia to teach lessons to General Pinochet.

Maria Canales

Maria Canales, a real historical figure, is a young writer who hosts parties for the Chilean literati in her house while her husband, who works for Pinochet, tortures and executes prisoners in the basement.

General Augusto Pinochet

General Pinochet, a real historical figure, was the dictator of Chile from 1973 till 1990. He was responsible for thousands of deaths of those who opposed his government.

Father Antonio

Father Antonio is an old dying priest who protests against falconry on his deathbed.