World’s End

World’s End

This handsome bilingual edition—the first complete, authorized English translation of Pablo Neruda’s Fin de mundo (World’s End)—is a finely tuned book-length poem of astonishing insight, clarity, and scope. Neruda confronts a grim disillusionment growing inside him as well as the fear that came to haunt the century that promised to end all wars, and celebrates “the light / filling to the brim the wineglass of the world” as well as “the sad bread of victory.” He imbues the poetry with uncompromising self-honesty, personal sacrifice, bitterness, joy, horror, hope, and ultimately love. Translator William O’Daly states in his introduction: “Musically refined and thematically orchestrated, [Fin de mundo] is an often startling historical journey through social and political disillusionment. Much like Canto general, his epic of the South American continent, this late work was impelled by the process of clarifying experience in the cold fires of the imagination[,] by the pursuit of common cause and brotherhood.”

Throughout his life—and right up until its end—Neruda directly confronted the injustices and tragedies of his world, and he found lasting inspiration in those whose lives intersected with history, in those who faced down their isolation and fear.

World’s End is the eighth volume in O’Daly’s late-career and posthumous Neruda series. Through these best-selling books, he has been recognized as an insightful caretaker of Neruda’s work. Publishers Weekly called his efforts “awe-inspiring.” Now, with the publication of Book of Twilight (October 2017), he has circled back to Neruda’s first book to render the roots of the master poet’s work.

“O’Daly has spent more than 20 years translating Neruda’s late work, and here he brings his awe-inspiring [eight]-volume Copper Canyon project to a conclusion with taut, spare renderings that capture what, in the end, is the hopeful pith of Neruda’s troubled old-age rumination: “The world was finishing us / and we went on losing / winning more each day.” Neruda turned the whole dramatic odyssey of his life into a poem in progress, and O’Daly’s work reminds us how astonished and grateful we should continue to be.”
Los Angeles Times, Sunday Book Review

“Pablo Neruda’s World’s End has finally been translated into English 40 years after its initial publication in Spanish. Translator William O’Daly does a wonderful job of keeping the language palpable and rhythmic. Written five years before the end of Neruda’s life, this eerily relevant book is also a wonderful introduction to Neruda because of its balance of image and representative message.”
Matt Soucy, Coldfront

“William O’Daly’s translation of Pablo Neruda’s book-length poem, Fin de mundo, is a veritable poet’s companion and guide to the twentieth century. . . O’Daly brings Neruda’s deserving Spanish poems into English with the careful eye and impeccable hand of a master poet.”
Sacramento Book Review

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