Sunday, August 16, 2009
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano
I bought The Savage Detectives as the third part of a 3 for the price of two deal at the bookstore. The bookstore had the two David Simon books as part of the 3 for 2 deal, so I felt obligated to get the third for free. But I had some trouble finding the third. I finally decided on The Savage Detectives because I had read great reviews of Bolano's 2666 and The Savage Detectives was 200 pages shorter, so less of a gamble.
This was a few months back. The Savage Detectives sat on my shelf. I read a brilliantly suggestive book on French theories hidden affinity with neoliberalism. I read most of David Simon's Homicide: a Year on the Killing Streets. I also read for school and was busy working.
Last weekend my schedule opened up and I took the weekend off. I decided to read a book. I tried to get Vineland by Thomas Pynchon, but after walking to campus, found out the library was closed. So I decided to give The Savage Detectives a try.
Do you have a word for those incredible moments when something just clicks and you are immediately engrossed in music, film, literature? When the work and the artist become your new obsession? I don't. I can't imagine that one word can fully describe it. But, its what happened from the very first sentence of The Savage Detectives, which has this superb first paragraph;
"I've been cordially invited to join the visceral realists. I accepted, of course. There was no initiation ceremony. It was better that way."
What follows is futile to summarize. Its too rich. Too multi-layered. Too good to reduce.( I'm sure I've missed the majority of jokes, references etc.) I can only describe it as a combination of Please Kill Me, Studs Terkel, Sentimental Education and the better part of the Beats meets Borges. It is essential that you read this book.