Garima's Reviews > The Savage Detectives

The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño
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The innocence of childhood, the muddiness of adolescence, the charm of youth

Unconditional love of a mother, passionate love of a lover, bloody revenge by an enemy.

Teachings of a teacher, lessons learnt by a student, choosing a road untraveled.

Poems by poets, novels by writers, paintings by painters.

A lost idol, reminiscences by ironic souls, A regained Idol.

Love, obsession, sex, drugs, heart-breaks, longing, road-trip, search, survival.

Arturo Belano, Roberto Bolano, Ulises Lima, Mario Santiago- The Savage Detectives


WARNING: Reading The Savage Detectives can be injurious to Readers’ health. It contains symptoms of awesomeness, which are difficult to contain in words invented by English language, thus have the evil power to make you suffer from the dreaded REVIEWER’S BLOCK disease. With proper rest, retail therapy, finding solace in other books (less awesome ones) might help you overcome your pitiful condition. Since I’m feeling a bit better now, I am attempting this review. Kindly co-operate if I come across as somewhat deranged or childlike excited.

REVIEW

A while back, God knows what I was looking for on net and what magical words I typed in Google search bar in my sleep that I stumbled upon this page about neglected books:

http://neglectedbooks.com/

I didn’t browse through it at that time but remember myself feeling sad just from the name itself. Thinking about all those writers whose books are featured on the site made me wonder about the artists who dedicate themselves to various arts like writing, poetry, painting, music, acting, film-making, et al and how many of them actually achieve in their respective fields to be known in the world and how many simply get lost in oblivion and move on to something clichéd to earn a living, just because they tried to live their dreams and got no one to acknowledge them.

Citing an trivial example, even here on Goodreads, I have come across some brilliant reviews lying somewhere on 10th page or 67th, with 0 likes or comments rendered unheeded due to lack of some other skills may be. This was all Before reading this book and then I read IT.

With the turn of 1st page of 1st part, I braced myself for a fascinating journey that was about to begin. And as expected, this book turned out to be a literary Time machine tugging me back and forth among various temporal shifts belonging to different species of human beings starting with the 1st part, MEXICANS LOST IN MEXICO which was decorative enough with the diary entries of a young fucked (literally) up budding poet, Juan Garcia Madero. A big time messed up or simply confused, he found his way through the supposedly fun, revolutionary, oxymoronic named poetry group, Visceral Realists. A chance encounter at a poetry workshop introduced him to king-pins of the present day visceral realism, Arturo Belano (Not Bolano) and Ulises (not Ulysses) Lima, an introduction that further led to getting acquainted with an assortment of normal, abnormal, homosexuals, prostitutes, pimps, pornographers, junkies, cuckolds, sleep talkers, and other virtuous kinds of dudes and dudettes, all of them are prime examples of what one should NOT be like in their youth.

In the process, he lost his virginity in epic style, developed the ability to be unfaithful and eventually entrapped in an event where the phrase, in the wrong place at the wrong time seems apt for him. And abruptly his diary ends at a cliff hanger to make way for 2nd part, THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES, and savage they were but in an endearing manner (whateva that’s supposed to mean). This part is purportedly a profound confession by a poet (Roberto Bolano) who ironically became famous as a writer and a confession made on behalf of his friend expressed through various voices having nothing great to say about those poets (except few) as they were busy recollecting the peripheral circumstances that brought the presence of either of them in their lives and saying, “and then I met him”. A simple fact that they could recall them was proof enough of their existence.

And here comes the most feared question.

Why do you like The Savage Detectives? Explain.

Ans.
When I decided to read this book, I had some pre-conceived notions about it, that it’s going to be a tough read, difficult to comprehend and painfully long to get finished and by applying Speed, distance and time formulae (not really!) I allotted it a month’s time to complete. But Lo and Behold, I found myself reading it at every possible opportunity, while waiting for a friend, between job breaks, amidst refreshing the Goodreads Homepage and of course by stealing few hours of sleep. It was like I was meant to read this book, as if it was written for Me especially and when you feel like that you know you are in for a life-long friendship.

Every testimonial/ interview/ reminiscence in the book conveys a subtle facet of our past, present and future. You can’t help to feel a deep connection with one thing or the other in more than one way. The impalpable aspects of a situation or the whole story, leaves a deep mark on your being, making you ask yourself questions, analyzing the answers you somehow manage to give and present to you your life report card with comments at the bottom with heading : Possible areas of improvement or sorry, better luck next time, If there will be any.

When I mentioned, the prime examples of what one should not be like in their youth, I was just being sardonic. So what is youth exactly?

Some Definitions :

youth (yooth)

- the quality or condition of being young, immature, or inexperienced

- the period between childhood and maturity, esp adolescence and early adulthood

- the freshness, vigour, or vitality characteristic of young people

But one definition that is most suitable is that Youth is state of temporary permanency. It defines a huge part of our existence and it defined this book for its readers. Among all the revolutionary talk about the world of literature and Poetry, it slowly and steadily captures the essence of that endless ocean whereupon the ship of our life is sailing, tackling the rough waves or going smoothly over calm sea.

In the words of Mojo risin, “All the poetry has wolves in it”

And in the words of Roberto Bolano,” Literature is no innocent.”

This book is no innocent neither the writing of Bolano. His relentless prose won’t pamper you in any way. The writing is perfectly imperfect and complicated in the most sublime fashion. The backdrop though is the poetry world or arts in general; in actual it’s through various people associated directly or indirectly with that art, those who reeve the rope of life through pearls of emotions and feelings at different stages of life governed by love, madness, narcissism, loneliness or senility, that the main essence of this book delineates for me because anything apart from obvious joy or happy endings is where spirit of living rests for many.

The main characters are like shadows in most of the narratives defined for me through this quote:

“But I didn’t see his face, just his shadow as it crossed the bar. A shadow empty of metaphor, evoking nothing, a shadow that was only a shadow with no wish to be something else.”

I must admit that there are parts that bored me to some extent but BUT:

” Do you know what the worst thing about literature is?....That you end up being friends with writers. And friendship, treasure though it may be, destroys your critical sense.”

Ain’t Bolano one helluva smart fella!

This book is your story, my story and everyone’s story and isn’t it nice when you get to READ one.

What’s inside this book?

description

Ans. LIFE as we knew it!
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Reading Progress

08/27/2012 page 86
15.0%
08/28/2012 page 172
30.0% "“Sometimes I felt like kicking the shit out of him. Luckily I am a peace-loving person”"
08/30/2012 page 254
44.0% ""...but one look at her told you that she was a woman who knew what she wanted.""
09/03/2012 page 373
65.0% "Our struggle and dreams all tangled up in the same failure, and that failure was(is) called joy."
09/05/2012 page 527
91.0% "The Sonora Desert Safari Begins!"

Comments (showing 1-37 of 37) (37 new)

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s.penkevich I hope you review this someday, I'd love to see your thoughts on this one fleshed out.


Garima I'm struggling to write one for this book. So far I'm gathering my thoughts about its various aspects. Moreover helping myself by taking cues from other readers reviews here on goodreads as well as others available on net. I have started to work on its review, just taking my own sweet time.


s.penkevich Understandable, with books like this it helps to give a few days to let all the ideas fall into place. I think I waited a good week and a half before writing mine. I'm sure it will be a great one!


Garima Feeling of Performance Pressure! :P


Jason All eyes on you, Garima.


Garima Ahh! what a relief Jason. Thanks!


s.penkevich No pressure, right?


Garima Naah! I'll manage.. :D


s.penkevich INCREDIBLE review! Glad you punched through that reviewers block (now if only I can do that with Lighthouse...). I like the neglected books link, that is cool, and perfect for a discussion of this book! Youth as 'temporary permanency', nice. Also, I really dig the format for this review. Am I gushing? I can't help it! Well worth the wait.


Jenn(ifer) outstanding!


Jenn(ifer) love the quotes you chose too:

In the words of Mojo risin, “All the poetry has wolves in it”

And in the words of Roberto Bolano,” Literature is no innocent.”



Garima s.penkevich wrote: "INCREDIBLE review! Glad you punched through that reviewers block (now if only I can do that with Lighthouse...). I like the neglected books link, that is cool, and perfect for a discussion of this ..."

Oh thanks alot Spenk and I'm sure you gonna rock TTL review. I'd been losing my sleep lately over this one,now finally can take a sigh of relief...Phew


Garima Jenn(ifer) wrote: "outstanding!"

Thank you so much Jenn(ifer) :)


message 14: by Nilesh (new)

Nilesh Kashyap Great review, Garima!


Garima Thanks Nilesh! You should give it a try sometime, I hope you'll enjoy this one.


message 16: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Sckenda Thank you for identifying the dreaded Reviewer's Block disease from which I suffer every other review. I suffered it in Justine, but you appear to have overcome it marvelously in this review.


message 17: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Sckenda Could you also identify the name for the disease that causes one to hit refresh on gr every 60 seconds? How about the "disease" that causes one to go 10 or 65 pages deep into reviews of a particular book while looking for gems? :)


Garima Haha! Thanks for the comments Steve. You see, this book made me suffer, so I had to identify that disease and looking so extensively for its reviews was the extension of that disease only, just to find out what exactly people have to say about this book or other great books, when I find myself incapable of doing so. I took my time to recover, at least it's not deadly ;)

As far as refreshing GR page is concerned, then I believe it's one site that never sleeps. One book or another is kept adding up and some great views are shared incessantly, so our acts are justified.


message 19: by Kris (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris Brilliant review!!! I am so glad for all of us that you beat your case of reviewer's block into a pulp.

There are so many highlights in your review, but I especially loved this discussion, "But one definition that is most suitable is that Youth is state of temporary permanency. It defines a huge part of our existence and it defined this book for its readers. Among all the revolutionary talk about the world of literature and Poetry, it slowly and steadily captures the essence of that endless ocean whereupon the ship of our life is sailing, tackling the rough waves or going smoothly over calm sea.

In the words of Mojo risin, “All the poetry has wolves in it”

And in the words of Roberto Bolano,” Literature is no innocent.”"


Garima Thanks you so much Kris. That really means a lot to me. In all honesty, I was not very sure about how you all will receive my review, but I guess, I'm in the company of really kind folks :)


message 21: by Kris (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris Garima wrote: "Thanks you so much Kris. That really means a lot to me. In all honesty, I was not very sure about how you all will receive my review, but I guess, I'm in the company of really kind folks :)"

And you are a perceptive, engaged, intelligent and insightful reader. :)


Garima WOW! You made my day and many days to come, Thanks Again.


s.penkevich Garima wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "INCREDIBLE review! Glad you punched through that reviewers block (now if only I can do that with Lighthouse...). I like the neglected books link, that is cool, and perfect for a..."

Did you finally get some good rest after writing this? Hope so, well deserved because this review was wonderful! I started my TTLH review, and then SNL came on and all focus went away so I scrambled a different review together today. But soon. How are you coming in that book by the way?


Garima s.penkevich wrote: "Did you finally get some good rest after writing this? Hope so, well deserved because this review was wonderful! I started my TTLH review, and then SNL came on and all focus went away so I scrambled a different review together today. But soon. How are you coming in that book by the way?"

Yes, I did..a huge burden lifted off my shoulders..Wait! this site is making me paranoid (in a good way !).
And about TTLH, you know, I'm also having a strong urge to start it all over again, but since I'm almost half way through, I'll resist doing it but it's definitely up for a re-read. On the other hand, DFW is leisurely playing with my mind. Both of these books are pressed upon giving my brains a good deal of exercise. :D


B0nnie Garima, just wow, what a nice review. You are right - the writing is perfectly imperfect. And that is so difficult to explain if you have to answer the most feared question!


Garima B0nnie wrote: "Garima, just wow, what a nice review. You are right - the writing is perfectly imperfect. And that is so difficult to explain if you have to answer the most feared question!"

Thanks a lot Bonnie. Glad that you liked it.


message 27: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Pagan-Gladfly Garima wrote: "Ans. LIFE as we knew it! "

You nailed it, Garima.


Garima Ian wrote: "Garima wrote: "Ans. LIFE as we knew it! "

You nailed it, Garima."


Thanks Ian. Your encouragement always makes me happy :)


Aubrey Fantastic review. It's been much too long since my last stint with Bolaño. I'll have to look into acquiring this book post-haste.


Garima Aubrey wrote: "Fantastic review. It's been much too long since my last stint with Bolaño. I'll have to look into acquiring this book post-haste."

Thanks a lot, Aubrey. I owe my fanship of Bolano to this book only. I shall look forward to your thoughts on this one.


message 31: by Samadrita (last edited Jun 21, 2013 12:09PM) (new)

Samadrita What a fantastic review Garima! I almost fell in love with this book without ever having laid eyes on its pages. Bolano must be given a thought now and possibly my whole attention soon. Brilliantly written!


Garima Samadrita wrote: "What a fantastic review Garima! I almost fell in love with this book without never having laid eyes on its pages. Bolano must be given a thought now and possibly my whole attention soon. Brilliantl..."

Hey thank you for spotting this review, Samadrita. Glad you liked it and please give Bolano a thought soon. He's worth your attention for sure.


Himanshu I added it just after reading the first part of your review(before Warning) and after reading the whole, just can't wait to pick it up. Thanks for the review!


Garima I simply love this book or any book coming from the pen of Bolano. Hope you'll find him to your liking.


Jonfaith This is the best of what we struggle to be.


message 36: by Kareena (new) - added it

Kareena Garima,reading your review has pushed me to pick up this book.Thank you. :)


Garima Glad to know that, Kareena. Enjoy!


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