The Savage Detectives

Best thing I’ve read in 2007. A book in 3 parts: Mexicans lost in Mexico (1975), The Savage Detectives (1976-1996), The Sonora Desert (1976). Juan Garcia Madero kicks us off with entries from his diary in Mexicans Lost in Mexico, from November 2 (invitation to join the visceral realists) through December 31 (peeling away from a house to protect a prostitute from her pimp on New Year’s Eve, heading for Sonora with Belano, Lima and Luna. We join Madero again at the end with The Sonora Desert, with entries from January 1 through February 15, as they search the desert wasteland for Cesera Tinajero, a poetess of the original visceral realists in the 1920s.
The meat of the book is the middle, Savage Detectives, all 400 pages of it culled from the perspective of everyone except Ulises Lima and Arturo Belano, but filling in the gaps about their lives in Europe and Africa. Both were not Mexican, but Argentinian and Chilean respectively, and head off to Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Israel and parts beyond. To try and recreate all the stories packed into this section would be madness.
Suffice to say, the story is packed with poetry, since we’re following the story of two poets from Mexico City in the 70s. There’s also adventure, eroticism, loyalty, duels, hunger, jailtime, a boy rescued from a crevasse by Belano, poets drinking mescal and smoking Ducatos, the search for Cesera Tinajero who ended up giving her life for the prostitute whisked away from Mexico City on New Years Eve 1975.
This was the kind of book that makes you want to live your life to the fullest, to pack in as much joy and adventure and poetry as possible, to realize there is no shame in not writing but just appreciating.


auth=Bolano, Roberto
pub=1998
sub=Translated from Spanish by Natasha Wimmer
isbn=0374191484