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
The late Chilean writer Roberto Bola o has been called the Garc a M rquez of his generation. In this dazzling novel, the book that established his international reputation, Bola o 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.
Brilliantly rendered into English by Natasha Wimmer, the acclaimed translator of Bola o's other great masterwork, 2666, The Savage Detectives is an exuberant, wildly inventive and ambitious novel from one of the greatest Latin American authors of our age.