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 Cesárea Tinajero. A violent showdown in the Sonora desert turns search to flight; twenty years later Belano and Lima are still on the run.
The explosive first long work by "the most exciting writer to come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time" (Ilan Stavans, Los Angeles Times), The Savage Detectives follows Belano and Lima through the eyes of the people whose paths they cross in Central America, Europe, Israel, and West Africa. This chorus includes the muses of visceral realism, the beautiful Font sisters; their father, an architect interned in a Mexico City asylum; a sensitive young follower of Octavio Paz; a foul-mouthed American graduate student; a French girl with a taste for the Marquis de Sade; the great-granddaughter of Leon Trotsky; a Chilean stowaway with a mystical gift for numbers; the anorexic heiress to a Mexican underwear empire; an Argentinian photojournalist in Angola; and assorted hangers-on, detractors, critics, lovers, employers, vagabonds, real-life literary figures, and random acquaintances.
A polymathic descendant of Borges and Pynchon, Roberto Bolaño traces the hidden connection between literature and violence in a world where national boundaries are fluid and death lurks in the shadow of the avant-garde. The Savage Detectives is a dazzling original, the first great Latin American novel of the twenty-first century.
This novel the major work from Chilean-born novelist Bola o\t\t (1953 2003) here beautifully translated by Wimmer will allow English\t\t speaking readers to discover a truly great writer. In early 1970s Mexico City,\t\t young poets Arturo Belano (Bola o's alter ego and a regular in his\t\t fiction) and Ulises Lima start a small, erratically militant literary movement,\t\t the Visceral Realists, named for another, semimythical group started in the\t\t 1920s by the nearly forgotten poet Ces rea Tinajero. The book opens with\t\t 17 year-old Juan Garc a Madero's precocious, deadpan notebook entries,\t\t dated 1975, chronicling his initiation into the movement. The long middle\t\t section written, like George Plimpton's Edie, as a set of anxiously vivid testimonies from\t\t friends, lovers, bystanders and a great many enemies tracks Belano and Lima\t\t as they travel the globe from 1975 to the mid-1990s. There are copious, and\t\t acidly hilarious, references to the Latin American literary scene, and one\t\t needn't be an insider to get the jokes: they're all in Bola o's\t\t masterful shifts in tone, captured with precision by Wimmer. The book's moving\t\t final section flashes back to 1976, as Belano, Lima and Garc a Madero\t\t search for Ces rea Tinajero, with a young hooker named Lupe in tow.\t\t Bola o fashions an engrossing lost world of youth and utopian ambition,\t\t as particular and vivid as it is sad and uncontainable.
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When I started reading this book, I thought I 'd drop a few pages later, but it turned out to be one of the best books I've read from South American writers