Saturday, January 31, 2009

To be youthful in spirit is the only real virtue, he thought, as he closed The Savage Detectives and fell asleep.

visceral realism savage detectives roberto bolano

* * * * *

In this book, Bolaño has mythologized his life and friends in much the same way Kerouac did with the Duluoz Legend. It's my favorite book; not for all time, not six months from now, but at this very moment. The kind of book that you almost feel a friendship develop with and are sad to finally finish.

The middle section of the book breaks into more than 40 first-person narratives (it's an oral history) revolving around the protagonists Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima, founders of the avant-garde poetry gang the Visceral Realists.

The Savage Detectives is a novel for people who can appreciate the unsure, incidental humor and pretense of youth. It's a novel for people who feel a little bit lonely after finding a legendary out-of-print book in a used bookstore only to realize they don't know anyone who has heard of it. A novel for people who get excited when they hear their favorite obscure writers evoked casually in conversation. A novel for people who, during their reading, compile lists of newly discovered writers for later exploration. A novel for people who read Pedro Páramo in the doctor's office while waiting for their father to finish his colonoscopy. A novel for people who dream about scorpions that only come out at night.

(I just purchased a beautiful three book edition of Bolaño's posthumous opus, 2666. I'm eager to read it, but for now I'm going to place it by my door on a special shelf where it will sit like a gargoyle and protect me from spirits while I sleep.)

infrarrealistas savage+detectives roberto bolano
second from left: Mario Santiago Papasquiaro ("Ulises Lima");
                                          far right: Roberto Bolaño ("Arturo Belano")

1 comment:

Hectocotylus said...

2 poems by Jorge Hernández Pieldivina (aka "Luscious Skin")