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.

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2 Responses to “Savage detectives”

  1. sara said

    how the hell do you have time to read? i envy you… but just wait – having 2 is A WHOLE NEW WORLD>

  2. mipilar said

    haha, thanks! i keep saying i was born with an abundance of restless energy. i should note i have yet to finish this book…mainly cause it was due at the library and someone put a hold on it so I had to give it up!

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