Savage detectives

December 11, 2007

I’m about a third through a new book, “The Savage Detectives,” by Roberto Bolaño. Although he wrote the book in 1998, and died a few years ago, his book is on the New York Times best 10 books of 2007 list. I’m assuming this is because the English translation just came out this year. Bolaño is a Chilean author who spent much of his time in Mexico City.

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The book is in the spirit of  notable beat writers like Jack Kerouac and John Burroughs, but with more of a post-modern slant. The book’s jacket touts it as the story of two modern-day Quixotes who I guess are on a quest to document or revive the modern Latin American poetry and literature movement, specifically Mexican writers.

I’m not sure if I should recommend this book  yet, since I’m not even half way through and it has already taken a sharp turn from the original direction. It started as the journal writings of a 17-year-old college student getting caught up in the literary scene in Mexico City in the 1970s- drugs, sex, pimps, that sort of thing. Now I’m on the second, and heftiest chunk of the book, where I’m reading about interviews with notable writers retelling the story of how they met the founders of the “visceral realists” writing movement. That would be the two “modern day Quixotes.” It’s really confusing but the writing is dazzling and I’m moving along fine, even though I had vowed to stay away from the male self-discovery-nihilistic novels. Where are my great women writers? The top 5 books of fiction on the NY Times list are all by male writers. I guess that’s not their fault. Anyway, I can forgive Bolaño for being a man because he’s South American. And the two central boys in this story seem to be on a quest for a certain poetess, so we’ll see where it ends up.

new car?

December 7, 2007

We’re going car window-shopping tomorrow, if all this snow melts and we’re not risking life and limb to make it out of Walla Walla. We’re heading to the “big town,” the Tri-Cities, to check out the Mazda CX-9 crossover SUV. It is a beautiful car and with seats for seven, the ideal family car/grown up upgrade we’re looking for. I think deep down I know we’ll probably end up with a few years old minivan, but I want to love my car. In my mind it also doesn’t hurt to look. Sometimes it just motivates you more to reach for that goal or make it work. Or else you realize what you’re cherishing is not as good a fit for you as you’d thought. Maybe if there’s a good enough offer, we can pull it off. What else are we busting our butts off working full-time for anyway, right?
The teenager has been getting annoyed with us every time we go look at things we know we can’t afford yet. Like Carlos and I really like going to open houses, even thought we have no need to move for probably another two years, when the new baby is old enough to possibly want his own room. But we enjoy seeing what’s out there. Maybe we’ll find an ideal home, at a great price, and it would be silly not to take up the opportunity. Plus I’m just really nosy.

The need for a new car is a lot more imminent than a new house at this point. Our Jetta already feels way too small. Adding an infant car seat beside Diego’s car seat is going to totally consume the back seat and annoy whoever ends up sitting back there (probably me, since the teen has sworn to not sit back there once the new baby comes). Then we’re also left without room for a passenger.

We’ll be doing our Christmas shopping up there as well. We’re being frugal this year, focusing on just the kids and limiting it to three presents for each one (one from each member of the family). On Sunday Carlos is heading to the forest to cut down a Christmas tree with our editor. The permit only cost $5, and we actually got a free one at a raffle at work. Free Christmas tree this year! Just gotta bring your own saw. Let’s hope they each make it home in one piece.