The Savage Detectives: A Novel

The Savage Detectives: A Novel

by Roberto Bolaño, Natasha Wimmer
4.0 28

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Overview

The Savage Detectives: A Novel by Roberto Bolaño

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466804852
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 07/09/2013
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 279,566
File size: 817 KB

About the Author

Born in Chile in 1953, Roberto Bolaño fled to Mexico after the military government took power in the late 1960s. There he helped found the infrarealist movement. He later settled with his wife and children in northern Spain, where he died in 2003. He received all of that country's highest literary awards, including the Romulo Gallegos Prize for The Savage Detectives. In 2004 he was honored by the First Conference of Latin American Authors as "the most important literary discovery of our time."


Roberto Bolaño was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He grew up in Chile and Mexico City, where he was a founder of the Infrarealist poetry movement. His first full-length novel, The Savage Detectives, received the Herralde Prize and the Rómulo Gallegos Prize when it appeared in 1998. Roberto Bolaño died in Blanes, Spain, at the age of fifty.
Natasha Wimmer is a translator who has worked on Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, for which she was awarded the PEN Translation prize in 2009, and The Savage Detectives. She lives in New York.

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The Savage Detectives 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
Roberto Bolano's The Savage Detectives is the story of a group of young poets in Mexico in the early 1970's. The book is written in three parts. The first part is the story of the Visceral Poet group, young poets and writers living in Mexico City, all Hispanics from various countries. The founders of the group are Ulises Lima and Arturo Belano, who named the group after an earlier set of visceral poets in the 1920's. That group centered around a female poet, Cesarea Tinajero, who disappeared mysteriously. In the first part, we meet the various characters through the eyes of a 17 year old, who thinks he might be a poet. This young man, Juan Garcia Madero, spends his days reading and writing and discussing literature with the group members. He also discovers his sexuality, and much of the section deals with his sexual awakenings and various partners. The second part is written forty years later, and is written as a series of short interviews with various people who have encountered either Lima or Belano over those years. Through these vignettes, we discover what has happened to these poets over the succeeding decades. The story winds through several countries and continents. Each person knows a bit of their stories, and the reader is able to slowly piece together their lives. The third part is a flashback to the road trip that Belano, Lima, Madero and a prostitute take to try to find Cesarea and what caused her to disappear. The events of that trip fuel the rest of the book, although the reader only realises this in retrospect. The Savage Detectives is a book that will be considered important for years, and will probably become a classic. Many readers might pick it up thinking it is a mystery, and they might be disappointed. But those readers that stick around for the ride will be entranced as they enter Bolano's world. This is definately a book that will bear rereads, and is recommended for readers who appreciate cutting edge literature and exposure to the literature of other countries.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I decided to buy this book because I read great reviews about it in several magazines. It's very long (almost 600 pages!), and a really tough read. It took me almost 3 months to get through it. The story follows two poets over 20 years, and it's told by individuals they've crossed paths with over the years. The problem is they've crossed paths with so many different people, its hard to keep up!! I'll probably try reading this book again in a few years. I recommend the Savage Detectives to anyone who has the time to spend reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A detective story... floating in a world of words, a breathless account of the search for a lost poet or was it a lost poem. It exposes the naive adolescent and lost mind set of a man on a mission to prove his existence. Its a rapturous list of name, and references in the style of Borges, but with a breathlessness that the old master, did not contribute. Is the story real, is it fake, is it realistic? It raises so many questions of self and the need for direction and focus. But it also raises questions of meaning and purpose. Who am I today? Am I a Poet or am I the poets muse?
Guest More than 1 year ago
i don't know if it was my mindset or having too many distactions or what...i just accept the fact that this is a great book, but one which i never really was drawn into.
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constructivedisorder More than 1 year ago
I got caught up in this book immediately, even as I was scrambling to keep up with all the characters and the plot. It was like reading Kafka or Joyce for the first time. It's one of the most mentally engaging books I've ever read - on a whole different level.
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sketchyfiction More than 1 year ago
I won't spoil this book, but something around 51 characters describe the somewhat twisted lives of two poets and their movement. A great read, to be sure.
artgarfunkl More than 1 year ago
1,000 Garcia Marquez earthquakes at once, over and over, the entire book. One long orgasm. For readers with endurance and passion.
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