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The Savage Detectives (1998)

by Roberto Bolaño

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,8741151,882 (3.94)320
New Year's Eve, 1975: Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima, founders of the visceral realist movement in poetry, leave Mexico City in a borrowed white Impala. Their quest: To track down the obscure, vanished poet Cesarea Tinajero. A violent showdown in the Sonora desert turns search to flight; twenty years later Belano and Lima are still on the run.… (more)
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» See also 320 mentions

English (94)  Spanish (15)  Italian (3)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (115)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Si a alguna obra le calza esa cursilería, tan del gusto de los críticos, de novela coral, ésta es «Los detectives salvajes» de Roberto Bolaño. Coral en el sentido nietzscheano. Al menos como el joven Nietzsche imaginó, o inventó, el origen de la tragedia en la Grecia antigua («...la tragedia surgió del coro trágico y que en su origen era únicamente coro y nada más que coro…» «El nacimiento de la tragedia» Cap. 7). El héroe bifronte: Lima-Belano, es cantado por multitud de personajes que desgranan sus recuerdos. El corifeo, el autor, no aparece más que como caótico ordenador de este guirigay de voces llegado de diferentes lugares (América, Africa, Asia, Europa) y tiempo (recuerdos que abarcan desde 1975 a 1996).
Crítica y parodia del mundillo literario: autores, críticos, editores, representantes, premios,… Una obra morosa, sin prisas, laberíntica, cuyo hilo se columbra bien avanzada la novela. Entonces cada pieza va ocupando su lugar, o el lugar que quiere darle el lector, en las dispersas vidas de los personajes e imaginar que el mito «Cesárea Tinajero existió, tal vez todavía existe» (II parte, Cap. 15 Luis Sebastián Rosado… p. 352). ( )
  GilgameshUruk | Jul 17, 2022 |
I actually did not finish this one. The beginning is entertaining, but then he starts to quickly change character perspective, and I just couldn't keep track of that many people. It reminds me of Ulysses in that way, starting with a coherent story line for the first 100 or so pages and then devolving into one or two page chapters. But unlike Ulysses, I didn't feel it was worth my while to bother to struggle through the rest of it.

While the beginning is fun; violence, sex, and all that, it's emotionally and intellectually hollow. Just because a book is supposed to be about smart people doesn't mean it is smart, and I think the characters are disappointingly one dimensional. I'm so sick of starving poets that think they're smart but are really just average people. ( )
  mvolz | Jul 10, 2022 |
Wild. ( )
  k6gst | Feb 27, 2022 |
O I have bogged, rather, in this. I hope to resume sometime when I need less from a book and can bring more to it. ( )
  AnnKlefstad | Feb 4, 2022 |
Three and half stars would be more accurate, but I'll round up because it definitely finishes strong. Bolano's novel has three sections, set in 1975, 1976-1996, and January 1976, respectively. The central section is by far the longest, but unfortunately you don't really know what the events described there mean until you read the last section. So it's nice to get that AHA! at the end, and a second read would be worthwhile, but making your way through that meandering middle the first time is pretty slow going. It's not just that Bolano opts to save the action climax for the end even though it happens earlier chronologically, but that he chooses to defer the subject of the book until the end, so that other than scattered reminiscences about the founders of a small vanguardist poetic group in 1970s Mexico City, you're not really even sure what the novel's about until then. I'd say if you like the opening and get bogged down, read the last section first and then go back. After all, Bolano's characters, mostly poets and their hangers on, admire Julio Cortazar, whose novel Hopscotch insists you can read its parts in whatever order you want. ( )
  AlexThurman | Dec 26, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bolaño, Robertoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Glastra van Loon, AlineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wimmer, NatashaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wimmer, NatashaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
"Do you want Mexico to be saved? Do you want Christ to be our king?"
"No."
-Malcolm Lowry
Dedication
For Carolina López and Lautaro Bolaño, who have the good fortune to look alike.
First words
I've been cordially invited to join the visceral realists.
Quotations
You can woo a girl with a poem, but you can't hold on to her with a poem. Not even with a poetry movement.
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New Year's Eve, 1975: Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima, founders of the visceral realist movement in poetry, leave Mexico City in a borrowed white Impala. Their quest: To track down the obscure, vanished poet Cesarea Tinajero. A violent showdown in the Sonora desert turns search to flight; twenty years later Belano and Lima are still on the run.

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