The Savage \t\t Detectives

Roberto Bolano, Author, Natasha Wimmer, Translator , trans. from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer. Farrar, Straus
& Giroux $27.95 (577p) ISBN 978-0-374-19148-1

This novel—the major work from Chilean-born novelist Bolaño (1953–2003) here beautifully translated by Wimmer—will allow English speaking readers to discover a truly great writer. In early 1970s Mexico City, young poets Arturo Belano (Bolaño's alter ego and a regular in his fiction) and Ulises Lima start a small, erratically militant literary movement, the Visceral Realists, named for another, semimythical group started in the 1920s by the nearly forgotten poet Cesárea Tinajero. The book opens with 17 year-old Juan García Madero's precocious, deadpan notebook entries, dated 1975, chronicling his initiation into the movement. The long middle section—written, like George Plimpton's Edie, as a set of anxiously vivid testimonies from friends, lovers, bystanders and a great many enemies—tracks Belano and Lima as they travel the globe from 1975 to the mid-1990s. There are copious, and acidly hilarious, references to the Latin American literary scene, and one needn't be an insider to get the jokes: they're all in Bolaño's masterful shifts in tone, captured with precision by Wimmer. The book's moving final section flashes back to 1976, as Belano, Lima and García Madero search for Cesárea Tinajero, with a young hooker named Lupe in tow. Bolaño fashions an engrossing lost world of youth and utopian ambition, as particular and vivid as it is sad and uncontainable. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 12/11/2006
Release date: 04/01/2007
Show other formats
Paperback - 592 pages - 978-1-4472-0285-1
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 592 pages - 978-1-4299-3445-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-4332-9265-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4332-9264-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4332-9262-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4332-9331-3
Paperback - 577 pages - 978-0-330-44515-3
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-4332-9267-5
Paperback - 648 pages - 978-0-312-42748-1
Paperback - 1 pages - 978-0-330-50952-7
Hardcover - 577 pages - 978-0-330-44514-6
Book - 978-1-4332-9268-2
Ebook - 592 pages - 978-1-4668-0485-2
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.