25 Books to Read Before You Die
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


The Powell's Playlist | August 8, 2014

Peter Mendelsund: IMG The Powell's Playlist: Water Music by Peter Mendelsund



We "see" when we read, and we "see" when we listen. There are many ways in which music can create the cross-sensory experience of this seeing...... Continue »
  1. $11.87 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$7.95
List price: $18.00
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

The Savage Detectives

by

The Savage Detectives Cover

 

Staff Pick

Easily the year's most acclaimed literary sensation, Roberto Bolaño is enjoying a remarkably unprecedented ascendancy in fame. The Chilean novelist and poet, whose exaltation has long been celebrated throughout the Spanish-speaking world, is posthumously sweeping the English-speaking countries (he died in 2003). Semana, a Colombian weekly magazine, recently published a list of the 100 best Spanish-language novels of the past 25 years, which, not surprisingly, included three works by Bolaño (number 3: The Savage Detectives; 4: 2666; and 14: Distant Star).

It was also recently announced that Natasha Wimmer (who translated The Savage Detectives) was awarded a $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant to support the translation of his masterwork 2666. According to the NEA, "Six weeks before he died, his fellow Latin American novelists hailed him as the most important figure of his generation at an international conference he attended in Seville." His work is widely considered to be hailing a significant change of direction for Latin American literature as a whole.

The Savage Detectives, which Bolaño called a "love letter" to his generation, is an accomplished and thorough effort. No amount of praise or critical elucidation could possibly do this epic story (at nearly 600 pages) justice, as it's both astonishingly original and magnificently composed. The highly autobiographical novel tells the tale of a group of "visceral realist" poets (a fictionalization of the "infrarealism" movement Bolaño helped spawn in the 1970s), their days drifting throughout Mexico and western Europe, and their search for the elusive poet Cesárera Tinajero. The main characters, if the book can be said to actually have any, are the founders of the so-called "visceral realist" movement, Arturo Belano (a loose stand-in for Bolaño's own life) and Ulises Lima (Bolaño's poet-friend Mario Santiago). Told mostly in the style of an oral biography spawning 21 years, The Savage Detectives is a must-read for ardent fans of literature and poetry, as the novel chronicles the wanderlust of men and women for whom poetry is something well beyond the cafes and yellowing pages of forgotten verse.

Though he often garners comparisons to Borges, Pynchon, and Cortázar (a claim that, while not entirely erroneous, does little to exemplify his singular style), Bolaño's genius is, in part, his ability to synthesize the elements of literature which his forebears had set as standard, usurp them as his own, and then transcend them in an erudite manner heretofore unseen. Roberto Bolaño's newfound fame is, indeed, well deserved, and The Savage Detectives is one of the finest novels to come along in quite some time.
Recommended by Jeremy, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"[A] bizarre and mesmerizing novel....Just now published in English, the book is a fist-to-gut introduction to a deceptively powerful writer who died at age 50 in 2003. It's a lustful story — lust for sex, lust for self, lust for the written word....Their antics will repulse you. Your moral compass will be pissed upon. But in a world where a guy who cuts up his penis with a blade is considered a 'real man,' Bolaño's visceral realists shine." Buddy Kite, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 Cesaea 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 Bolano 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.

Review:

"The journey for all, including the reader, may prove arduous, but as a picaresque road novel, coupled with successful character creation, intriguing experimentation, and a unique premise, it provides a rewarding reading experience." Library Journal

Review:

"For readers interested in a straight narrative, this book will disappoint, but those who enjoy voice and character will find much to satisfy them." Booklist

Review:

"[A] deeply satisfying, yet overwhelming reading experience....Is it worth our time? Is it a good novel or a great novel? Time alone will supply the adjective 'great,' but what I can say now is: The Savage Detectives is a very good novel." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"[An] utterly unique achievement — a modern epic rich in character and event, suffused in every sentence with Bolano's unsettling mix of precision and mystery." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"The Savage Detectives is a masterpiece, but unlike other postwar masterworks, it doesn't proclaim its importance right away....More a series of encounters than a novel, the entire work resonates like a prose poem, returning us to the haunting image of young people marching toward history's abyss, only their song remaining." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"[C]omplex, numbingly chaotic and sinuously memorable....Some of the book's best passages are here; but the formlessness, the cascading miscellany...can make the book, or at least the reader, founder. Many gleaming lights are displayed, but foundering nonetheless." Richard Eder, The New York Times

Review:

"[B]lazingly original...[a] masterpiece....One of the most entertaining books about writers and their discontents since Boswell's Life of Johnson. A brilliant novel, fully deserving of its high international reputation." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

National Bestseller

In this dazzling novel, the book that established his international reputation, Roberto Bolaño tells the story of two modern-day Quixotes — the last survivors of an underground literary movement, perhaps of literature itself — on a tragicomic quest through a darkening, entropic universe: our own. The Savage Detectives is an exuberant, raunchy, wildly inventive, and ambitious novel from one of the greatest Latin American authors of our age.

Synopsis:

National Bestseller
 

In this dazzling novel, the book that established his international reputation, Roberto Bolaño tells the story of two modern-day Quixotes--the last survivors of an underground literary movement, perhaps of literature itself--on a tragicomic quest through a darkening, entropic universe: our own. The Savage Detectives is an exuberant, raunchy, wildly inventive, and ambitious novel from one of the greatest Latin American authors of our age.

About the Author

Roberto Bolaño was born in 1953 in Santiago, Chile, and later lived in Mexico, Paris, and Spain: he wrote nine novels, two story collections, and five books of poetry, before dying in July 2003 at the age of 50. Seven more of his books are forthcoming from New Directions.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 16 comments:

Charles Faulkner, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Charles Faulkner)
This book is the ultimate document of a mysterious and almost lost generation. What happened when this young group of poets and revolutionaries were dispersed to four continents? A great, rambling and tragic comedy of earnestness and youthful brilliance. Read it and learn what can happen to one's origins when they are finally discovered.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Linda Moore, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Linda Moore)
2011 was my year of the excruciatingly long novel: Rick Moody's Four Fingers of Death (long distance space travel written in what seems like real time), Murakami's 1Q84, and Bolano's The Savage Detectives. All of them tried my patience; they differed in how they rewarded it. The lengthy, annoying, chaotic and self-indulgent tone of Bolano's novel ended up being so effective in creating the sense of time and social milieu of its story it gave me a new appreciation of the long novel. The book was a long journey that truly transported me to a new place.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
mick provencher, August 12, 2011 (view all comments by mick provencher)
Great novel, if it is a pure novel, some of it may well be true if we're to believe the intro. wonderful story from so many points of view. i did have a somewhat tough time remembering who's who but it was a great, great ride. i highly recommend going for it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 16 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312427481
Author:
Bolano, Roberto
Publisher:
Picador USA
Translator:
Wimmer, Natasha
Author:
Wimmer, Natasha
Author:
Bolao, Roberto
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Poets
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20080331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
656
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

Other books you might like

  1. 2666 (3-Volume Boxed Set)
    Used Boxed Set $15.00
  2. Tree of Smoke: A Novel
    Used Hardcover $4.50
  3. Last Evenings on Earth New Trade Paper $15.95
  4. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
    Used Trade Paper $8.50
  5. Then We Came to the End: A Novel
    Used Trade Paper $2.95
  6. The Monsters of Templeton
    Used Hardcover $3.50

Related Subjects


Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books

The Savage Detectives Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 656 pages Picador USA - English 9780312427481 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Easily the year's most acclaimed literary sensation, Roberto Bolaño is enjoying a remarkably unprecedented ascendancy in fame. The Chilean novelist and poet, whose exaltation has long been celebrated throughout the Spanish-speaking world, is posthumously sweeping the English-speaking countries (he died in 2003). Semana, a Colombian weekly magazine, recently published a list of the 100 best Spanish-language novels of the past 25 years, which, not surprisingly, included three works by Bolaño (number 3: The Savage Detectives; 4: 2666; and 14: Distant Star).

It was also recently announced that Natasha Wimmer (who translated The Savage Detectives) was awarded a $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant to support the translation of his masterwork 2666. According to the NEA, "Six weeks before he died, his fellow Latin American novelists hailed him as the most important figure of his generation at an international conference he attended in Seville." His work is widely considered to be hailing a significant change of direction for Latin American literature as a whole.

The Savage Detectives, which Bolaño called a "love letter" to his generation, is an accomplished and thorough effort. No amount of praise or critical elucidation could possibly do this epic story (at nearly 600 pages) justice, as it's both astonishingly original and magnificently composed. The highly autobiographical novel tells the tale of a group of "visceral realist" poets (a fictionalization of the "infrarealism" movement Bolaño helped spawn in the 1970s), their days drifting throughout Mexico and western Europe, and their search for the elusive poet Cesárera Tinajero. The main characters, if the book can be said to actually have any, are the founders of the so-called "visceral realist" movement, Arturo Belano (a loose stand-in for Bolaño's own life) and Ulises Lima (Bolaño's poet-friend Mario Santiago). Told mostly in the style of an oral biography spawning 21 years, The Savage Detectives is a must-read for ardent fans of literature and poetry, as the novel chronicles the wanderlust of men and women for whom poetry is something well beyond the cafes and yellowing pages of forgotten verse.

Though he often garners comparisons to Borges, Pynchon, and Cortázar (a claim that, while not entirely erroneous, does little to exemplify his singular style), Bolaño's genius is, in part, his ability to synthesize the elements of literature which his forebears had set as standard, usurp them as his own, and then transcend them in an erudite manner heretofore unseen. Roberto Bolaño's newfound fame is, indeed, well deserved, and The Savage Detectives is one of the finest novels to come along in quite some time.

"Review A Day" by , "[A] bizarre and mesmerizing novel....Just now published in English, the book is a fist-to-gut introduction to a deceptively powerful writer who died at age 50 in 2003. It's a lustful story — lust for sex, lust for self, lust for the written word....Their antics will repulse you. Your moral compass will be pissed upon. But in a world where a guy who cuts up his penis with a blade is considered a 'real man,' Bolaño's visceral realists shine." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "The journey for all, including the reader, may prove arduous, but as a picaresque road novel, coupled with successful character creation, intriguing experimentation, and a unique premise, it provides a rewarding reading experience."
"Review" by , "For readers interested in a straight narrative, this book will disappoint, but those who enjoy voice and character will find much to satisfy them."
"Review" by , "[A] deeply satisfying, yet overwhelming reading experience....Is it worth our time? Is it a good novel or a great novel? Time alone will supply the adjective 'great,' but what I can say now is: The Savage Detectives is a very good novel."
"Review" by , "[An] utterly unique achievement — a modern epic rich in character and event, suffused in every sentence with Bolano's unsettling mix of precision and mystery."
"Review" by , "The Savage Detectives is a masterpiece, but unlike other postwar masterworks, it doesn't proclaim its importance right away....More a series of encounters than a novel, the entire work resonates like a prose poem, returning us to the haunting image of young people marching toward history's abyss, only their song remaining."
"Review" by , "[C]omplex, numbingly chaotic and sinuously memorable....Some of the book's best passages are here; but the formlessness, the cascading miscellany...can make the book, or at least the reader, founder. Many gleaming lights are displayed, but foundering nonetheless."
"Review" by , "[B]lazingly original...[a] masterpiece....One of the most entertaining books about writers and their discontents since Boswell's Life of Johnson. A brilliant novel, fully deserving of its high international reputation."
"Synopsis" by , National Bestseller

In this dazzling novel, the book that established his international reputation, Roberto Bolaño tells the story of two modern-day Quixotes — the last survivors of an underground literary movement, perhaps of literature itself — on a tragicomic quest through a darkening, entropic universe: our own. The Savage Detectives is an exuberant, raunchy, wildly inventive, and ambitious novel from one of the greatest Latin American authors of our age.

"Synopsis" by ,
National Bestseller
 

In this dazzling novel, the book that established his international reputation, Roberto Bolaño tells the story of two modern-day Quixotes--the last survivors of an underground literary movement, perhaps of literature itself--on a tragicomic quest through a darkening, entropic universe: our own. The Savage Detectives is an exuberant, raunchy, wildly inventive, and ambitious novel from one of the greatest Latin American authors of our age.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.