Buy Used
CDN$ 15.46
+ CDN$ 6.49 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Sold by Daily-Deal-
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This Book is in Good Condition. Used Copy With Light Amount of Wear. 100% Guaranteed.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Savage Detectives Hardcover – Apr 3 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
CDN$ 57.88 CDN$ 15.46

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
click to open popover

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: FSG Adult; 1st Edition edition (April 4 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374191484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374191481
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 885 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #453,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This is the posthumously published English translation of the prizewinning novel that made celebrated Chilean Roberto Bolano famous. This highly stylized novel is ostensibly about two poets, leaders of the Mexican visceral realist literary movement, and their search for an obscure icon of the movement and its repercussions. The book spans a decade and follows the poets from Mexico City to the Sonoran Desert, Guatemala, Barcelona, Paris, Israel, Congo, Liberia, and the U.S. The narrative becomes secondary to the voices of the people who meet these poets as this long novel told through the personal stories--some humorous, some inscrutable, some tragic--of the eclectic assortment of characters they encounter on the way becomes less about the search and more about literature and language. For readers interested in a straight narrative, this book will disappoint, but those who enjoy voice and character will find much to satisfy them. As one of the characters notes, "Well. In Latin America these things happen and there's no point giving yourself a headache trying to come up with a logical answer when there is none." Rebecca Singer
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

See all Product Description

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 23 2010
Format: Paperback
For one who took awhile to get use to the wierd peregrinations of Bolano's other novel, "2666", I was quite prepared for a similar wild, sprawling journey in "Savage Detectives". For Bolano, life is not meant to be seen through the prescriptive lens of a well-structured story. There is a lot of action in both novels to remind the reader of the epic travels of Don Quixote, with greater emphasis on the violent end of things. For starters, there is the mythical quest to connect with the past. A youthful Baleno(Boleno's inner person) and his fellow writer, Ulises Lima, have formed a breakaway society dedicated to searching for a more creative expression of life through poetry. They call themselves the new visceral movement of Latin America, dedicated to experiencing life in raw and uncompromised terms. From the outset, they hit the road with a youthful passion to reconnect with a similar revolutionary movement that formed many years before somwhere in the Latino world. For the next several decades they wander the face of the earth looking for this other movement's lost poetess, Teresa Cesarea, who has become their sole inspiration for finding the true poetic voice of the common man. Adventure after adventure fall into the reader's lap as these two literary troubadours meet up with the rabble who have no one to tell their official story of what it means to live in squalor and poverty. Along the way they encounter many of the supposedly literary notables of the Spanish world who have lost their vision for what was their original calling: heralding what is truly life in its clearest form. Many have become lackeys of the state, using their misbegotten talents to slander creative outsiders and renegades like Baleno and the his fellow-visceral types.Read more ›
3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is interesting, if I had written this comment as soon as I finished reading this excellent novel, it would have been less excellent. Some works require that some time pass between the experience of them, their filtering into existence to finally be expressed in words. Language after all is why this book is so compelling, it must be truly amazing in Spanish. In short, the reading is an experience. I came upon Bolano's work by way of D.F. Wallace and was not at all disappointed, though richer in "drama" this work also sidesteps narrative in favour of looking and taking the time to see something new. The way the landscape is explored through lists of street names was particularly effective at creating a sense of time and space of the city.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Strange but interesting book. Warning: It's not a strap hanger.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Maybe it's my frame of mind, or not enough sleep, or whatever... I simply couldn't get into this book, and I think it's my fault. I finished about 80% of it and I just didn't see the point in continuing.
So many characters, vignettes of individuals, almost diary-like; and switching from character to character, from time to time, and place to place. I simply lost track of who was who and how characters related to each other.
If I had it all to do again I'd make sure I was well rested, and had lots of time to sit and digest big passages at a time; and I'd be sure to have pen and paper handy to write down the characters as I go.
To say that I didn't find the characters interesting would be false. I enjoyed the experience of the Latin literary culture and underground. The shadowy culture that usually aligns itself with the poor artist.
I see others giving 5 stars, and I'm sure it's worthy; but this was my experience. This is one book for me that in other time and place might be worth a second shot.
One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9bcf5a68) out of 5 stars 174 reviews
163 of 172 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c94318c) out of 5 stars Lives of the Poets Aug. 24 2007
By Brad Richard - Published on
Format: Hardcover
First, a note to those readers who found the book slow: well, it is and it isn't. The first part moves along at a fairly fast clip and ends in the midst of a car chase. The very long second part, called "The Savage Detectives," presents forty-odd narrators, some recurring, some not, who take us through about thirty years of life, love, madness, poetry, children lost in caves, Latin American poets lost in Africa, and people generally (even savagely!) lost in their own lives. About fifty pages into this section, I too was getting annoyed, wondering where all this could possibly be going and what the point could possibly be. Then, the slow accretion of narratives and themes began to reveal the grand melancholy at the multi-layered heart of this brilliant book, and I was enthralled. The novel's third and final section is brief and brutal. I'll avoid spoilers here, but the ending conveys an inevitable and exhausted disillusionment only comparable, to my mind, to that of Sentimental Education, although Bolano is perhaps not quite so cynical as Flaubert. Or is he? His poets seem to be either anti-heros in spite of themselves, or sincere and manipulative poseurs; and yet, for as much as we may know about them, some mysteries about these characters simply cannot be solved. Formally, the book challenges our expectations of a novel (and although Bolano is compared most often to Borges, whose work and image he praised in interviews, formally he reminds me more of Julio Cortazar, although without quite the same ludic bravado as in, say, Hopscotch); thematically, it challenges ideals we may hold for art, especially if we are artists. And if my review makes The Savage Detectives sound like a long and somber read, trust me--it is exuberant and heartbreaking in its pursuit of both comedy and tragedy.
74 of 80 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c94327c) out of 5 stars Magical Mexican Mystery Tour Sept. 18 2007
By Yuri Trash - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Well into The Savage Detectives, one character says to the other: "The visual arts are ultimately incomprehensible. Or they're so comprehensible that nobody, first and foremost myself, will accept the most obvious reading of them." Substitute "written" for the "visual" arts and you get a taste for what you are in for in this book: a combination of wisdom, puzzle and in-joke.

I loved the book and am now hunting down other Bolano novels. The Savage Detectives is not easy - two sections of conventional narrative set in Mexico about our poet heroes are split by nearly a 400 page section of oral history, almost like witness statements, from those who encountered them over the subsequent 20 years. The knowledge gained in this intervening section colours and adds a sense of melancholy when the initial narrative resumes. An obvious reference point is the film Y Tu Mama Tambien because of its Mexican setting, its young protagonists on a road trip, and the ephemeral nature of youth's passions (and lots of sex). While the novel's structure is challenging, it holds together because the voices are compelling. The characters ramble, digress, talk your ear off and engage in bawdy, violent and colourful adventures. There is a sense of urgency about their testimony, as though their experiences had to be recorded. While our picture of our main protagonists is never complete, often contradictory, there is a real power here. Bolano wrestles with representing the fullness of a life, while at the same time acknowledging the impossibility of ever doing so. We may be the centre of our own individual universes but in the end we are just dust in the wind.

This is a book to read at a good steady pace - too fast will mean you will not savour the words and small clues left along the way, too slow and you will lose track of the multiple threads. One of the best books I've read in the last five years.
52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c943720) out of 5 stars From Comedy to Tragedy in the Mexican Avant-Garde April 27 2007
By D. Domingos - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Bolano is a a master storyteller. Best book i've read in years.

THE STORY: Ulises Lima and Arturo Belano are the young leaders of literary movement they call the Visceral Realists, think BaaderMeinhoff Literary Brigade. The movement is part-gag -- a sendup of Andre Breton's surrealist movement and its "purges" -- but also an attack on the old guard of Latin American literature, people like Octavio Paz (who they jokingly/seriously threaten to kidnap) and Garcia Marquez. They show up with their teenage cohorts at literary events and heckle the sacred cows as the old men of letters attempt to recite their poetry! They threaten their critics with duels (as any self respecting man of letters must do)! Some of the Visceral Realists don't even appear to read! The motley group of Mexico City street kids -- Ulises, Arturo, Lupe, Garcia Madero, Maria and Angelica Font, Luscious Skin, San Estifanio -- are bonded by their belief in poetry, the poets life, their alienation, and their youth.

The story follows this gang from their beginnings in 1970s Mexico City through their wanderings throughout the world (Spain, France, West and Central Africa, Latin America, San Diego)and into the 1990s. The realization that the life of a poet is both the happiest and the saddest thing. And it finds Arturo, Ulises, Garcia Madero, and Lupe lost in the Sonora Desert running from an angry pimp and searching for a lost poet, the first Visceral Realist, a woman who disappeared into the desert some forty years before.

Oh yeah, there's alot of sex and drugs, some violence, poignancy and irreverancy. And there's a lot of poetry.

I can't recommend it enough, especially for those who believe that books can offer more than entertainment, for those who dream the naive and true dream that books and the people who write them are revolutionary.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c943624) out of 5 stars Not for everybody Dec 24 2008
By chris - Published on
Format: Paperback
Bolaño is undoubtedly a very important writer, and the reasons for this are expressed in the book's introduction by the translator of The Savage Detectives, Natasha Wimmer. The Savage Detectives is also one of the most critically acclaimed novels to come around in a long time.

Maybe you'll love it-- lots of people do, clearly. And it's worth a try if you're really into Latin American literature.

For me, the large number of narrators turned me off. After the first part, each one speaks for a few pages only, for hundreds of pages. Once in a while a certain voice would grab me, and I felt compelled to read, but then two or three pages later, Bolaño shifts to another voice. This kind of structure has always been a turn-off for me, and if it is for you too, you may have trouble appreciating this novel.

I also realize that I don't really care about the poetry and literary scene in Mexico in the 1970's. There are tons of "in" references to Mexican poets, critics, and places in Mexico City that will be completely cryptic to most lay readers.

Some of the sex scenes are over the top. Like the woman with the outrageously smelly vagina that would smell up the apartment. I guess that was intended to be funny, but I'm not really sure.

Well, I'm sorry to be in the minority here. I regret missing this train. I will try 2666 soon.
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c943840) out of 5 stars So Visceral, So Real Sept. 5 2007
By Michael Jones - Published on
Format: Hardcover
First of all, Natasha Wimmer does a great job with this translation. Considering the author's poetic style, I'm sure it must have been difficult.

Bolaño tells the story of a fictional poetry movement, the 'visceral realists', an anti-Octavio Paz group based in Mexico City (apparently modeled on Bolaño's own experiences with a similar movement called the 'infrarealists' ).

What's so great about this book , for me, is not so much the story but rather how the story is revealed: through so many unique voices (over 50?); one of whom being Juan Garcia Madero, a 17 year old student of poetry and one of the original anti-Paz "gang". His diary, which elevates the tale to a mythic quest, frames the novel in the 1970's.
The middle section of the book reads almost like a documentary; a sort of literary verité. It masterfully patches together the experiences of the quixotic figures, Arturo Belano (Bolaño?) and Ulises Lima, leaders of so-called 'visceral realists', from the reminiscences of tangential characters in their lives.

This is a novel you can read over and over and still pick up something new each time. I am looking forward to the upcoming Bolaño translation (thankfully by Wimmer as well) called "2666".

Look for similar items by category