The Savage Detectives: A Novel (Paperback)

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By Roberto Bolaño, Natasha Wimmer (Translated by)
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Staff Reviews

The Savage Detectives astounds. A thriller set in the midst of an underground poetry movement featuring outlaw heroes who pass the time quizzing each other on structural terms of classical verse, it expertly balances seemingly incompatible tendencies. It is a book steeped in politics that manages to remain fervently anti-political; at once cultured and coarse; absolutely compelling but improbably tedious in places; decidedly omitting of all verse. Bolano called The Savage Detectives a “love letter” to his generation that came of age in the 60s and 70s – idealists fueled on art, sex, and drugs, for which the aesthetic quest, for the distillation of the meaning of life through art was urgent and essential. Yet the dissolution of these ideals through the poets’ descent into quotidian hazards (pettiness, debauchery, a daily living, the pretensions of the literary elite) provides the novel’s central conflict: a reminder that Literature (indeed all Art), despite its ambitions, can never attain its goal. Should we continue to search? If it provides the intellectual thrills of this brilliant novel, the answer is a resounding YES.

— Sara, Atlanta


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 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.

Praise For…

“An utterly unique achievement--a modern epic rich in character and event. . . . [He is] the most important writer to emerge from Latin America since García Márquez.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“My favorite writer . . . The Savage Detectives is an ark bearing all the strange salvage of poetry and youth from catastrophes past and those yet to come.” —Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love

The Savage Detectives is deeply satisfying. . . . Bolaño's book throws down a great, clunking, formal gauntlet to his readers' conventional expectations. . . . A very good novel.” —Thomas McGonigle, Los Angeles Times

“One of the most respected and influential writers of [his] generation . . . At once funny and vaguely, pervasively, frightening.” —John Banville, The Nation

“A bizarre and mesmerizing novel . . . It's a lustful story--lust for sex, lust for self, lust for the written word.” —Esquire

“Roberto Bolaño's masterwork, at last translated into English, confirms this Chilean's status as Latin America's literary enfant terrible.” —Vogue

“Combustible . . . A glittering, tumbling diamond of a book . . . When you are done with this book, you will believe there is no engine more powerful than the human voice.” —Emily Carter Roiphe, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“An exuberantly sprawling, politically charged picaresque novel.” —Elle

“Wildly enjoyable . . . Bolaño beautifully manages to keep his comedy and his pathos in the same family.” —The New York Times Book Review

Product Details
ISBN: 9780312427481
ISBN-10: 0312427484
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: March 4th, 2008
Pages: 656
Language: English