Saturday, February 7, 2009

Review of The Savage Detectives: A Novel by Roberto Bolaño

The Savage Detectives: A Novel The Savage Detectives: A Novel by Roberto Bolaño

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
There were plenty of moments during the weeks it took me to trudge through the middle section where I thought I couldn't go on, even going as far as setting it on the return counter at the library, only to ask for a renewal at the last second. The lovers and losers populating Bolaño's milieu of visceral realists are relentlessly pursuing a oneness with poetry, chasing after Godot instead of waiting around for him, and I felt sucked into their quest. In fact, I described reading this book as hanging out with a bunch of people of which my other respectable friends would not approve, and deep down you tend to agree, but I hang out with them anyway, because I love them and transparently, I want to be one of them.

As I finished the book, I read this essay that said "Bolaño can write page after page without indulging in a single metaphor, or adding a dab of rhetorical color to the account of a dinner party or a murder." This is pretty close. I think in The Savage Detectives he has woven such a tight tapestry between character and story that they become one endless fabric, and you drag yourself deliriously over every inch of it, caressing the textures, mesmerized by the weaving until you finally back away from it and realize that is all there was, there is no giant pattern to be revealed, just a blood red tarp big enough to blanket the world.

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  1. I saw your reference to Savage Detectives last week; I was just over 100 pages in at the time. I'll come back and read this when I finally finish it - probably on the plane to and from SXSW.

  2. great review of this book was just published on The Mantle. i once checked this out from the library, but never even opened it... looks like i'll have to revisit.