41 of 51 people found the following review helpful
We're all Visceral Realists now,
This review is from: The Savage Detectives (Hardcover)
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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Initial post: 6 Dec 2009 07:23:31 GMT
M. R. Stephen Collins says:
Great review, if only because you have pointed out that the emperor has no clothes. I haven't read any Bolano yet, but being sick and tired of magical realism myself, I think Savage Detectives is going to be just the tonic. Steve
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