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The Savage Detectives (Playaway Adult Fiction) [Preloaded Digital Audio Player]

Roberto Bolano , Armando Duran , Eddie Lopez
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Unabridged --  
Paperback £6.99  
MP3 CD, Audiobook £30.00  
Preloaded Digital Audio Player, 1 Feb 2010 --  
Unknown Binding --  
Audio Download, Unabridged £22.85 or Free with Audible.co.uk 30-day free trial

Book Description

1 Feb 2010 Playaway Adult Fiction

With a new afterword by Natasha Wimmer

‘Savagely comic yet equally tender . . . This novel is an elegy for a generation’ Independent

New Year’s Eve 1975, Mexico City. Two hunted men leave town in a hurry, on the desert-bound trail of a vanished poet.

Spanning two decades and crossing continents, theirs is a remarkable quest through a darkening universe – our own. It is a journey told and shared by a generation of lovers, rebels and readers, whose testimonies are woven together into one of the most dazzling Latin American novels of the twentieth century.

‘The comic frenzy, the inventiveness of character and situation, and the mood-soaked depiction of 1970s Mexico is delightful’ Times Literary Supplement

‘A portrait of people for whom literature is bread and water, sex and death. The abiding message to be taken from Bolaño’s novel, and maybe from his fraught life, too: books matter’ GQ

‘It’s no exaggeration to call Bolaño a genius. The Savage Detectives alone should grant him immortality’ Washington Post

‘Bolaño makes you feel changed for having read him; he adjusts your angle of view on the world’ Guardian

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Preloaded Digital Audio Player
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks (1 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433292688
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433292682
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 1.2 x 0.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Roberto Bolaño was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He spent much of his adult life in Mexico and in Spain, where he died at the age of fifty. His novel The Savage Detectives was named as one of the ten best books of 2007 by the Washington Post and the New York Times Book Review. His posthumous masterpiece, 2666, won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Product Description


"An utterly unique achievement--a modern epic rich in character and event. . . . [He is] the most important writer to emerge from Latin America since Garcia Marquez."--"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. . . . Bolano'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 Bolano'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 . . . Bolano beautifully manages to keep his comedy and his pathos in the same family.""--The New York Times Book Review" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Roberto Bolaño was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He grew up in Chile and Mexico City. He is the author of The Savage Detectives, which received the Herralde Prize and the Rómulo Gallegos Prize, and 2666, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He died in Blanes, Spain, at the age of fifty. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling 28 July 2009
You never quite know where you are with Bolano. Perspectives tumble, safety in character knowledge is shallow. Don't expect a quick read as each narrator adds conflicting information to our gradual understanding.

Reviews of the book state the depth of internal comedy/parody latent within the novel. I disagree. I consider Bolano to be that rare talent that shakes one's complacency, forcing a reappraisal of what constitutes an intelligent read. What you get is a snapshot of a grunting, breathing, vital Mexico, peopled with flawed characters, whose interactions with others are chaotic, touching and memorable.

If you want a challenging read, with beautiful prose, then read this and Bolano's other works. Excellent stuff.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a mexican odyssey 27 Nov 2008
That this novel has received almost universal praise from critics is no great surprise. It is a novel all about writing, about books, and it is filled with an ardour for its subject which is infectious. Some characters are compelled to steal them, or to produce them, to take great pleasure in looking at or touching them. There is often a rhythm to the prose which leads you around its pages like a man leading his dance partner around the room, and Bolaño is a man who knows the dance, who knows how to lead. The first section of the book comes in the form of a diary written by seventeen year old Juan Garcia Madero, a budding poet who guides us through the last two months of 1975 in Mexico City. It is a short period of time but an eventful one for our orphan narrator who joins the visceral realist poetic movement, is virtually adopted by a family, has lots of sex and ends up speeding out of the city in a white Ford Impala pursued by a pimp and his heavies. And that's just the first 120 pages.

It is a riotous start that introduces us to a huge cast list of characters. Important amongst them are Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima, the leaders of the visceral realist movement. Belano functions as an an alter-ego of the author, whilst his compadre has a name which on its own conjures up the work of James Joyce and that original Greek odyssey. That love of books I mentioned earlier is shown here firstly by the theft these young poets indulge in from local bookstores, an act which is not so much motivated by their politics as by their poverty, and also in the production of their own magazine, Lee Harvey Oswald, a name at once political and yet ridiculous.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just wonderful 27 Oct 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was my first encounter with Bolano. He's one of those writers who make you want to go straight out and buy everything he wrote. It's an extraordinarily brave, original, funny, sad and honest book that happens to be about poets but could be about anyone. Hugely recommended.
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41 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're all Visceral Realists now 22 Oct 2007
By Sam Allenby VINE VOICE
Somebody had to break the strangle-hold that Garcia Marquez, Vargas Llosa, Octavio Paz and their imitators such as the dreary Isabelle Allende had on South American literature. Bolano succeeds brilliantly in a rough, bleak, funny and sexy picaresque tale of two poets, Ulisses Lima and Arturo Belano, and their lives in Mexico City in the 1970s and subsequent travels in Europe and Africa. The structure of the book is interesting: it begins with an account by a 17-year-old wannabe poet and his encounter with the rest of the gang. They end up fleeing Mexico City on New Year's Eve 1975 in a borrowed car. The main section consists of a series of interviews with people who encountered the two poets between then and 1996. The final part is an account of what happened on that road trip as they try to find Cesarea, a female poet, whose only known work is one short poem.
The bad news is that Bolano died in Blanes a couple of years ago, aged only 50. The good news is that there is quite a lot of his other stories, either translated or in translation.
Death to Magical Realism! We're all Visceral Realists now!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The way life should be lived... 26 May 2011
By frank
Roberto Bolano pretty much lived the life he writes about in this book, a multi-style account of what happens to a young, radical group of poets as they age. It starts with a 17 year old who knows poetry techniques but little about life and for a hundred pages or so we follow a diary narrative of his first two months as a member of the visceral realists. That's the radical group of poets, if you're wondering. Then, after his narrative ends, there's a jump into a load of multi-ethnic, first person recollections of the visceral realist's two leaders, mostly from peripheral characters, and even some we've never met before.

It's a bit of a lurch, actually, and for the next hundred or so pages you might find it disappointing. I did...in fact, I was skipping ahead to see if it'd switch back to the 17 year old kid again, as we leave him on a real cliffhanger. But the thing is, Bolano gradually pulls you into the new style and the gift he has for writing as different people with different voices is incredible...really, he writes all sorts, and most of them are all associated with poetry or the arts in some way, so you're getting variety out of a group of people that is usually portrayed as either pretentious or odd.

The best thing to say about this book though, is that it makes you want to be like the two poet leaders, Ulysses Cruz and Arturo Belano (who is obviously the author). They travel without money and without plans and one of them even ends up sleeping in a cave somewhere on the coast of France. Only certain personalities can do this of course, but don't you wish you had the balls to be one of them?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Investment equals reward, as with all of Bolano's work
Beginning in Mexico City and then extending around the globe, we follow the literary quest of two underground poets. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Patrick CT
1.0 out of 5 stars If you want a story then steer clear
I am sure this book is very clever...and perhaps I am just not clever enough to appreciate it, but it just goes on, and on, and on, and on...and does not seem to get anywhere. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Keith Andreetti
3.0 out of 5 stars For Bolaño fans rather than the casual reader
The book was first published in 1998 and turned Bolaño into a cult writer.

I was looking forward to it after being impressed by "The Third Reich", one of... Read more
Published 15 months ago by John Fitzpatrick
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much mescale
Having seen the mixed reviews I went for the audio version. It is expensive but handy and someone else takes the strain. Also very good for those holiday luggage restictions. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Officer Dibble
4.0 out of 5 stars good range of different styles...
Savage tecs is epic, one of the best books I've read in the last five years. I love the way the diary entries only last for 120 pages and then Bolano throws you into a different... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Eisen Stein
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
I can understand the hugely varying reviews on this one. The book starts off okay - one reviewer felt the book was for men, I understand why that was said as the first part is... Read more
Published on 6 Dec 2011 by pigsmayfly
5.0 out of 5 stars compelling and brilliant
The Savage Detectives is a unique and exhilarating book, well worth reading despite its excessive length. Read more
Published on 5 Sep 2011 by Samir Okasha
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Worth The Hype
Ultimately a novel that promises much but delivers little. The book is a literary labyrinth with no exit, that leads no where. Read more
Published on 15 July 2011 by DRFP
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!
An amazing book that is chock full of pathos. It is said that James Joyce's idea for Finnegan's Wake was for the prose to flow like a river--that one could read up to the end of... Read more
Published on 18 Oct 2010 by Bartleby
3.0 out of 5 stars loses momentum
As much as I like sprawling narratives, this book would have seriously benefited from an editor's scalpel. Read more
Published on 11 Oct 2010 by Lawrence Thursk
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