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The Savage Detectives
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
With a new afterword by Natasha Wimmer Savagely comic yet equally tender . . . This novel is an elegy for a generation Independent New Years 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 Bolaos novel, and maybe from his fraught life, too: books matter GQ Its no exaggeration to call Bolao a genius. The Savage Detectives alone should grant him immortality Washington Post Bolao makes you feel changed for having read him; he adjusts your angle of view on the world Guardian
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review
ChaoticMissAdventures
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Panpan

Not sure what to say. I really enjoyed the writing style of this. But the blatant misogyny and homophobia that is rampant throughout the book was just not cool.

I am surprised that more people do not talk about the excessive use of bigoted slurs and obsession this author seems to have with degrading women and with Gay men in general. I finished it but will not be picking up 2666 which is on my shelf already.

Hooked_on_books Uh-oh, I own this one and now I‘m much less excited about it. I‘m impressed you stuck with it to the end. 2y
ChaoticMissAdventures @Hooked_on_books looking through GR reviews and I am defiantly in the minority here. No one even mentions it, But there is a page towards the beginning where he uses the “F“ word (the derogatory one) like 15 times on one page. 2y
Hooked_on_books I‘m usually pretty sensitive to blatant misogyny and get very angry about it. I think when I eventually pick this up, I‘ll be quick to bail if I get the urge based on what you‘ve said. It‘s good to know—it‘s a big book and I don‘t want to waste my time raising my blood pressure. 😉 2y
15 likes3 comments
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ChaoticMissAdventures
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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“Nothing happened today. And if anything did, I‘d rather not talk about it, because I didn‘t understand it.”
#AQuoteADay

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ChaoticMissAdventures
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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I feel this quote is very 2020-USA. My first book by Chilean author Bolaño
I like his writing style, but the book feels incredibly homophobic, I need to look into this more.

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Taylor
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Panpan

The beginning section is fire 🔥 Unfortunately this novel is 650 pages (yes I read them all), and that opening with the visceral realists doing this and that, writing poetry and fucking about is not the majority of the book. (By the way, that part I just described is the really, really good stuff.) After that it descends into an illimitable stream of disparate first person narratives, which I just could not get into. That first section though!

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Taylor
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao

Then, humbled and confused and in a burst of utter Mexicanness, I knew that we were ruled by fate and that we would all drown in the storm, and I knew that only the cleverest, myself certainly not included, would stay afloat much longer.

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Copwithabook
Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Attention all! No book in this post but I wanted to share my good news with my peoples. I got promoted to detective today!!!!!! Expect to see more crime scene related books in future posts. That is all, carry on.

CocoReads That‘s awesome! Congrats! 3y
Mitch Yeah - congratulations! 🙌 🙌 🙌 🙌 🙌 3y
Megabooks 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🎉🥳 3y
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Hooked_on_books That‘s so cool! Congrats! 🎈 3y
Mimi28 Congratulations!! 🎊🎉🎈 I‘m so proud of you!! That‘s great news! 👍🏽👍🏽😊😊 3y
ljuliel Wow, that‘s great ! Congrats 🎊🎉🎈 3y
WorldsOkayestStepMom Congratulations!!! I love this! 3y
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MamaGina Exciting News...Well Done!!!👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 3y
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TheBookAddict Congrats and thank you for your service! You are appreciated. 😊💕 3y
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Copwithabook You guys are freaking amazing! I logged on today and found 141 notifications. The overwhelming support floors need and reminds me why I keep coming back to you guys. I love you all! 3y
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Suet624 Congratulations!!! 4mo
58 likes33 comments
review
Billypar
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Pickpick

A long, disorienting novel about members of an obscure group of young poets in Mexico called the 'visceral realists' that is as unique a reading experience as you can hope for in a novel. It's got an odd structure- three parts, 1 and 3 from the diary of a newcomer to the poetry group from 1975-1976, and then part 2 455 pages from countless POV's over two decades (1976-1996), all being interviewed about the 2 young founders of the group.👇

Billypar Some of Part 1 and the first half of Part 2 struck me as dull and a bit pedantic, but the writing consistently made me curious about its direction. Part 2 really picks up steam as it goes- some narrators have stories to tell that are compelling as standalones, and also serve larger explorations of heady territory that is difficult to sum up, but about how an artist's identity is glimpsed by what they say about art and what others say about them.👇 4y
Billypar And these questions often percolate in long meandering journeys on the road, that figure prominently throughout the novel, culminating in a thrilling third act. Not sold all the time while reading it but I was by the end- still turning it over in my brain. 🏜️🚗🏜️ 4y
Suet624 That‘s one well-read book. Dogeared and all. 3y
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Billypar @Suet624 I got it used and it had water damage too. At one point in the book one of the characters talks about reading in the shower and I wondered if that gave the previous owner ideas 😀 3y
the_real_archimboldi One of those books that comes back to you. The images and ideas appear shaper in your mind after they‘ve had a while to sit and contextualize. Belano is a master of writing unsettling stuff. One of the of scenes my mind always returns to is when Joaquin is describing a person he knew that he thought couldn‘t speak. It turns out the guy could speak but was just pulling some kind of twisted trick all that time on Joaquin. Creepy. 3y
Billypar @the_real_archimboldi It was my first Belano and I'm looking forward to reading more. You're right that he does veer into the unsettling, especially with a character like Joaquim: you're never quite sure how strong his grip on reality is! 3y
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M.V
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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CoffeeNBooks Welcome to Litsy! 📚 4y
57 likes1 comment
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Decalino
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Pickpick

I'm not sure where to begin reviewing this wild and fascinating novel, inspired by Bolano's own adventures as a young Chilean poet in exile. Set primarily in Mexico City in the late 1970s, the story follows the "visceral realists", a school of poets unappreciated by literary society. I can't say I fully understood everything that happened, but this overstuffed novel has a strangely compelling charm.

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Faibka
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Help! What do you do to snap out of it? I need to do some adulting and other reads and can‘t be just lounging around on the sofa staring at the ceiling, still thinking about the book, not willing to admit that I‘ve finished reading it and need to move on. Lol

vivastory Meh, adulting is overrated. I usually switch genres, I also find that short stories work well. 4y
Faibka @vivastory I hear you. Thanks for the great suggestion! I had been thinking of maybe reading some manga. I‘ve been meaning to read this series 4y
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review
Faibka
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Pickpick

Wow. If at the end(?) of Cortázar‘s Hopscotch I felt like laughing at the utter absurdities of life, now, just like García M, I feel like crying and I‘m not sure why. This has to be one of the most intricate and polyphonic books I‘ve ever read. The story (is there one?) is constructed masterfully by so many points of view and across different timelines, each a story of its own, of shipwrecked souls, lost castaways in the midst of life‘s sea. ?

Faibka Bolaño is such an important writer in Hispanic literature I feel very happy and privileged to have finally read one of his masterworks and ashamed that it took me so long to do so. Many many thanks to @vivastory and @batsy for rekindling my interest :) if you‘ve not read “Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa, I think you‘ll enjoy it! A wonderfully broken structure in narrative and many interwoven stories in just one conversation! 4y
vivastory A brilliant review! 👏👏🤘📚 The authors influencing Bolano are varied, but Cortazar is undoubtedly a primary influence. This is one of my favorite books of all time. I've been meaning to read Llosa for years, one of the few Latin American boom authors I'm not familiar with. Will definitely move up the TBR list! 4y
Faibka @vivastory thanks! It‘s such a masterpiece I‘m still feeling a little stunned and awed. Truly one of the best books I‘ve ever read but I have to ask, how do you move on? Lol, I don‘t want to admit to myself that I finished it :( Oooh I think you‘ll love Conversation, at points you‘re confused as to who‘s speaking and when that conversation took place or if it‘s imagined, he pulls it off brilliantly, an impressive feat in narrative! 4y
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Faibka @vivastory please tag me if you read it! I‘d love to know what you think, Vargas Llosa has said that if there was a fire at this house and he could only save one of his works, it would be that one :) 4y
BarbaraBB Great review! I haven‘t read this one but loved 4y
Faibka @BarbaraBB thank you! :) and I haven‘t read 2666 but it‘s on my list! I hope you get to read this one, it‘s so good! 4y
batsy I always love your thoughtful, intricate reviews! So glad this was a worthwhile experience for you. I really need to read more Bolano, but as it goes, so many other books keep getting in the way 😆 4y
Faibka @batsy thank you so much! 😊 I can totally relate I have like five books that I haven‘t finished and yet keep wanting to read others 😂 (edited) 4y
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Faibka
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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“In some lost fold of the past, we wanted to be lions and we're no more than castrated cats.”

Ouch! But that just about sums up most of the characters of this book, lost, desperate, aimless, like victims of a shipwreck, which is exactly what their lives have become.

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Faibka
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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“Life left us all where we were meant to be or where it was convenient to leave us and then forgot us, which is as it should be.”

“La vida nos puso a todos en nuestro lugar o en el lugar que a ella le convino y luego nos olvidó, como debe ser.”

As you can see Stewie is carefully reflecting on these words

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Faibka
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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“I knew then, humbled, perplexed, in a burst of absolute Mexicanness, that we were governed by chance and that we would all drown in this storm, and I knew that only the most clever, certainly not me, would stay afloat a little while longer.”

The translation is mine so I hope I didn‘t butcher too much the intent and existential beauty of the original paragraph.

Faibka Original:“Supe entonces, con humildad, con perplejidad, en un arranque de mexicanidad absoluta, que estábamos gobernados por el azar y que en esta tormenta todos nos ahogaríamos, y supe que sólo los más astutos, no yo ciertamente, iban a mantenerse a flote un poco más de tiempo.” 4y
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Faibka
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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“The method was ideal to prevent anyone from becoming friends with anyone else or to have friendships forged in sickness and resentment.”

Ha! I love Bolaño‘s style of writing. Perplexing and funny, an interesting read so far.

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Faibka
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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“... but this is attributable to my ignorance in literary affairs (all the books in the world are waiting for me to read them)”

And this book waited patiently 10 years on my shelf waiting to be read. Finally getting around to it!

vivastory I hope you love it! I personally prefer it over 2666, which is undoubtedly a masterpiece (albeit one you have to really struggle with). Savage Detectives is the contemporary On the Road, or Don Quixote. 4y
Faibka @vivastory thanks, I‘m very sure I will! I‘m already struggling to put it down which is the mark of a good book :) I‘m ashamed to admit I haven‘t read 2666 and was struggling to decide between the two, but remembered some of the passages from your posts and how much you loved it and decided to go for it! 4y
Faibka @vivastory a comparison to Don Quixote makes me even more eager to read it, it‘s a fun read so far! 4y
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batsy I love Savage Detectives but haven't read Don Quixote yet 😳 Just curious about which translation you've both read ... Hopefully DQ can be next year's project :) @vivastory 4y
vivastory @batsy I read the Edith Grossman translation. I read it in January 2017 & it was a great way to start a new reading year 4y
Faibka @batsy I read it in Spanish, but I‘ve heard good things about the Grossman translation and from the quotes @vivastory and others were posting the translation was very good and pretty close to intention and meaning, quite a feat considering all the archaisms. I can‘t recommend that book enough, it is such a delight, I hope you get to it soon! :) (edited) 4y
batsy @vivastory @Faibka Thank you both, that's the translation I've been eyeing. Starting off a new reading year with this one seems like a fantastic plan 😊 4y
Faibka @batsy Yay! I really hope you enjoy it. Looking forward to your thoughts on it :) 4y
37 likes8 comments
review
elisaren23
Los detectives salvajes | Roberto Bolao
Pickpick

Un libro increíble

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bookandcat
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Pickpick

#FreakyFriday book #2 from @zeljka This book is bonkers in the best kind of way. It starts out as a diary from a visceral realist poet, then changes to testimonies of people who encountered this visceral realist group over decades, then returns to the diary. It's quite a feat and makes me want to read more Bolano. I gave it 3.5 stars because I loved the diary sections most, but it's the shorter part of the book.

@monalyisha @Clwojick

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erzascarletbookgasm
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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This novel by the Chilean author tells of two men who track down an obscure, vanished poet. A violent showdown turns their search to flight. Have seen this book in the bookstores but did not have the urge to pick it up. Works well for those doing the read-around-the-world challenge.
#nuyear #savage

Cinfhen It sounds good ❣️putting it on the back burner #somanybookssolittletime 5y
TrishB Another new one on me! 5y
batsy Love this book! 5y
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tif I hated this book. Was a DNF for me. But that doesn't mean others won't enjoy it 😁 5y
Texreader Sounds like a very unique plot. Did you like it? 5y
erzascarletbookgasm @Texreader I did not read this book :) 5y
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Gwen1980
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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If this book could be summarized in one sentence . . .

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Gwen1980
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Gwen1980
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao

"I laughed again and dust rose from the books with the force of my laugh, and then I could see the titles better, the authors, the files where I kept . . ."

Maybe it doesn't work out of context but this seemed poetic to me when I read it. Sometimes we need an outside force to break up the dust and stagnation and let us see things better.

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Gwen1980
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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"But then, through the icy lakes of my eyes (the wrong metaphor, since it was sweltering inside Priapo's, but I can't think of any better way to say that I was about to cry and at the exact moment of "about to" had changed my mind, backpedaling, but that a distorting layer of liquid still glazed my pupils)."

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Janedoughnut
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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batsy
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Two poets in the 1970s go in search of a #missing poet, Cesárea Tinajero, considered the "mother" of the literary movement they're a part of. A rich, polyphonic novel that I do want to read again because I'm sure I missed so much the first time. But then I still haven't read War and Peace, Moby Dick, Bleak House... ????

#maybookflowers @RealLifeReading

saresmoore If we wanted to have a super depressing time together, we could buddy read all three of those because I haven't read them, either! But really...Moby Dick? I just don't know if I can do it. 6y
batsy @saresmoore I'm so game for a depressing buddy read 😂 But seriously whenever the mood strikes you to read one of these, I'll definitely be keen to read along 👍 As for Moby Dick, I follow the twitter account where it tweets from the book and sometimes it's so poetic and beguiling. I feel like I have to read it. My own, er, white whale. 6y
saresmoore 😜 I see what ya did there! Ha! Yes, let's do it! What do you want to read first? We could start June 1 and maybe even rope in some other unsuspecting victims. 😏 6y
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batsy @saresmoore Do you mind if we wait until August? Would that work for you? I think I'm in another readalong for June and a backlog of review books to clear. 😓 And yes, let's get more victims! I mean, fellow readers 6y
saresmoore I don't mind at all—that sounds great! 6y
vivastory @saresmoore you're in for a real treat. This is one of my favorite books. 6y
batsy @saresmoore Great 💜 6y
shawnmooney @saresmoore It sounds fun and I'm looking forward to seeing your posts! I tried his 2666 and bailed in disgust a decade ago. For some reason I have trouble with almost all of the fiction that comes out of this part of the world. The only exception so far is Garcia Marquez. I am quite embarrassed to admit it, and hope I can push through whatever my problem is. 6y
batsy @shawnmooney @saresmoore It's so mysterious how this goes, how some books work for some and just don't for others! I'm embarrassed to admit that the only Garcia Marquez book I've read is Of Love and Other Demons and I found it so boring I didn't want to read any of his others. I feel like I do want to try, someday... Maybe the timing wasn't right. 6y
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AMVP
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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#maybookflowers day 5 - #mexicanauthors

A little distracted; having a delayed May the 4th screening of Star Wars: the silver screen edition.

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BeckyRenner
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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So I am super behind on all these #seasonsreadings2016 posts. This was for a #tbr one. It's my tbr shelf! But today it's #weneeddiversebooks ! If you squint, you'll see a bunch of Latin American books. Perfect for the #ReadHarder2017! I have plenty of Latin American recommendations if you need them. 😊

Reviewsbylola I see soooooo many good books!! 6y
BeckyRenner @Reviewsbylola Right? All I want for Christmas is time to read! 6y
vivastory Love Bolano. 6y
bouquinista This one's been on my shelf for a while now! 6y
BeckyRenner @bouquinista I bought it recently because I'm going to Chile next year. 😁 (edited) 6y
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KafkaKitten
Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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I just realized how few books I have set in South America, and I can't find any of my Marquez... 😢 #booktober

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Simone_Gibson
Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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I'm a little disappointed with my sparse collection of not just #bookssetinSamerica but #latinamericanauthors as well. I definitely need to grow this category in my library, maybe some Borges and Mario Vargas Llosa to start. Any other suggestions? #booktober

RealLifeReading Exactly. Me too. And I especially want to read more female writers from South and Central America! 6y
Simone_Gibson @RealLifeReading sounds like a theme from everyone posting today! I'm tracking your post for recs ;) 6y
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review
LorneGuyland
Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Pickpick

****

Dizzying in its structure and multiplicity of p.o.v. characters. Not easy to categorize. Entertaining throughout and sometimes fraught with suspense. It may warrant another reading to see how all the puzzle pieces fit.

MrBook Great review 😊👍🏻 6y
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Beccabeanss
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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reading bolaño in chile like the student abroad i am

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LorneGuyland
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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"...when I was in high school we had a teacher who claimed to know exactly what he would do if World War III broke out: go back to his hometown, because nothing ever happened there...but in a way he was right, when the whole civilized world disappears Mexico will keep existing..."

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LorneGuyland
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Now reading. I think I found something good enough to follow Knausgaard.

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teainthelibrary
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
Pickpick

Frustrating, intelligent, engrossing, funny, depressing - an adventure through and through. Massive commitment, though. Took me almost three months!

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jenjen
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Pickpick

A celebration of language and literature. It has this incredible flow to it that once you start reading you just can't stop.

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teainthelibrary
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao

"One morning I woke up in Athens and the sight of the Parthenon brought tears to my eyes. There's nothing like traveling to expand your horizons. But also to cultivate your taste."

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SubwayBookReview
Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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Tavish: "This book reads like raw documentary footage. It's about two poets and a dropout law student who hangs out with them in Mexico City. The bulk of the book takes places 20 years after they take off and drive through the Sonoran desert. Characters in Europe, the Middle East and Africa tell their account of the poets. You don't get who they are in a finite way. It's more about the feeling of what happens to people after their youth."

DreesReads Now I feel like I need to read this. 6y
Eugeniavb Bolaño is a god. 2666 is a must too 6y
79 likes17 stack adds2 comments
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teainthelibrary
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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My local book club's pick for August - The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño. I'm struggling a bit with the length and style of writing, but enjoying it nonetheless. I bought this copy in Cambridge, UK ?

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izolive333
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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"Every book in the world is out there waiting to be read by me."

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