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The Savage Detectives

The Savage Detectives

The Savage Detectives
1st edition (Spanish) Author Original title Translator Country Language Publisher Publication date Roberto Bolao Los Detectives Salvajes Natasha Wimmer Chile Spanish Anagrama (Spanish) 1998

Published in English 2007 Pages ISBN 610 8433910868

The Savage Detectives (Los Detectives Salvajes in Spanish) is an award-winning novel[1] published by the Chilean author Roberto Bolao in 1998. Natasha Wimmer's English translation was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2007. The novel tells the story of the search for a 1920s female Mexican poet, Cesrea Tinajero, by two 1970s poets, the Chilean Arturo Belano (alter ego of Bolao) and the Mexican Ulises Lima.

Plot summary
The novel is narrated in first person by numerous narrators and divided into three parts. The first section, "Mexicans Lost in Mexico", set in late 1975, is told by 17-year-old aspiring poet, Juan Garca Madero. It centers on his admittance to a roving gang of poets who refer to themselves as the Visceral Realists. He drops out of university and travels around Mexico City, becoming increasingly involved with the adherents of Visceral Realism, although he remains uncertain about Visceral Realism. The book's second section, "The Savage Detectives," comprises nearly two-thirds of the novel's total length. The section is a polyphonic narrative which features more than forty narrators and spans twenty years, from 1976 to 1996. It consists of interviews with a variety of characters from locations around North America, Europe, and the Middle East, all of whom have come into contact with the founding leaders of the Visceral Realists, Ulises Lima and Arturo Belano. Each narrator has his or her own opinion of the two, although the consensus is that they are drifters and literary elitists whose behavior often leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of those they meet. We learn that the two spent some years in Europe, frequenting bars and camp sites, and generally living a bohemian lifestyle. Lima, the more introverted of the two, serves a short sentence in an Israeli prison, while Belano challenges a literary critic to an absurd sword fight on a Spanish beach. The third section of the book, "The Deserts of Sonora", is again narrated by Juan Garca Madero, and chronologically takes place straight after the first section, now in the Sonora Desert in January 1976, with Lima, Belano and a prostitute named Lupe. The section involves the "Savage Detectives" closing in on the elusive poet and the movement's founder Cesrea Tinajero, while being chased by a pimp named Alberto and a corrupt Mexican police officer.

The Savage Detectives

A partial character list.
Characters Arturo Belano Ulises Lima Juan Garca Madero Description One of the founders of Visceral Realism. More extroverted. Chilean. (Bolao's alter ego) One of the founders of Visceral Realism. More introverted (Mario Santiago's alter ego) 17-year-old Visceral Realist. Moved in with the Font family for a while, and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of classical and medieval poetic forms. Based on Roberto Bolao Mario Santiago Papasquiaro Juan Garca Ponce and Juan Esteban Harrington

Lupe Alberto

Young prostitute. Friend of Mara Font's; dates Juan Garca Madero. Lupe's pimp. Gangster who measures his penis against his (large) knife every day. Chases Lupe through the Sonoran desert. Celebrated Mexican Poet. Nobel Prize Winner. Hated by the Visceral Realists; meets Lima in a park accompanied by assistant. Anglica's oldest sister. Sleeps with Juan Garca Madero. Won the Laura Damian poetry prize. The Font sisters' father. Architect. Spends half of the novel in mental institutes. Octavio Paz

Octavio Paz

Mara Font Anglica Font Joaqun (Quim) Font Julio Csar lamo Cesrea Tinajero

Mara Larrosa Vera Larrosa Manolo Larrosa

Visceral Realists met in his poetry workshop. Led trip to Nicaragua when Lima was lost.

Juan Bauelos

Poet considered the 'mother of Visceral Realism', dating from the conception of the Visceral Realist movement in the 1920s. Nearly forgotten. Belano, Lima, Lupe, and Garca Madero embark on a quest to find her in 1976. Old man who drinks Mezcal. Former poet turned scrivener. A member of the original Visceral Realists who is interviewed by Belano and Lima, revealing to them the only published work of Tinajero. Went horseriding with Arturo in high school. Ex-lover of Arturo who claims Arturo started Visceral Realism to impress her. Used to date Laura. Another Visceral Realist who is equally bitter about Lima and Belano. Moved to Los Angeles after the disappearance of Ulises and Arturo, where he and his American girlfriend Barbara Patterson are interviewed during the novel's second part. Another of the second generation Visceral Realists. Also Chilean. Took care of Arturo's mother in Barcelona. Poet. Won Casa de las Americas competition.

Concha Urquiza(es)

Amadeo Salvatierra

Rodolfo Sanabria

Perla Avils Laura Juregui Csar Arriaga Rafael Barrios

Lisa Johnson

Rubn Medina(es)

Felipe Mller

Bruno Montan

Fabio Ernesto Logiacomo Luis Sebastin Rosado Alberto Moore Pancho Rodrguez Moctezuma Rodrguez

Jorge Boccanera(es) Jos Joaqun Blanco

Contemptuous towards the Visceral Realists. An occasional lover of Luscious Skin.

Friend of Luis Rosado. Second-generation Visceral Realist poet, older brother of Moctezuma and in love with Anglica Font. Younger brother of Pancho, also a poet. Ramon Mndez Estrada(es) (Ramn Mndez) Cuauhtmoc Mndez (Cuauhtmoc Mndez Estrada)

The Savage Detectives

Jorge Hernndez Pieldivina (Jorge Hernndez "Piel Divina") Carlos Monsivis

"Luscious Skin" Bisexual Visceral Realist poet.

Carlos Monsivis Manuel Maples Arce Barbara Patterson Ernesto San Epifanio Catalina O'Hara

Respected critic and essayist. Published a collection of work by Visceral Realists, much to his own cost. Respected and self-important poet.

Manuel Maples Arce

American hippie girl. Dates Rafael. Filthy, funny, and foul-mouthed.

Young gay man, associated with the second generation of Visceral Realists.

Daro Galicia


Carla Rippey(es) Jos Peguero Guadalupe Ochoa

Jacinto Requena Dating Xchitl. Slept with Mara Font. Xchitl Garca Dating Jacinto. Eventually publishes poems and is successful writing essays. (Mother of one Franz.) Dubbed "the mother of Mexican poetry". Hid in an UNAM bathroom during the 1968 military massacre. (She is also the narrator of Bolao's spin-off short novel Amulet.) Respected poet. Liked Visceral Realists.

Auxilio Lacouture Joaqun Vzquez Amaral Lisandro Morales Vargas Pardo Simone Darrieux Hiplito Garcs Roberto Rosas Sofa Pellegrini Michel Bulteau Mary Watson Alain Lebert Norman Bolzman Heimito Knst Jos "Zopilote" Colina Vernica Volkow Alfonso Prez Camarga Hugo Montero

Alcira Soust Scaffo


Publisher. Published Arturo, among others.

Ecuadorean novelist. Dated Arturo in Paris, during which time Ulises showered at her house.

Jos Donoso Pareja

Friend of Ulises in Paris. Cooked for him, but ripped him off. Friend of Ulises in Paris. Hated Hiplito. Friend of Ulises in Paris. French poet oft-read by Ulises in Mexico. Ulises called him in Paris. English hippie. Slept with Arturo when he was a park ranger. Fisherman in Spain. Friend of Arturo's, along with the pirate, Margarite. Friend in Israel of Ulises. Lived with Claudia and Daniel. Dated Claudia; Ulises was in love with her. In jail with Ulises in Israel. Lived with him in Vienna. Paranoid, possibly mad. Publisher. Full of himself. Heimito von Doderer Jos de la Colina Michel Bulteau Jos Rosas Ribeyro

Trotsky's great-granddaughter.

Vernica Volkow

Painter. Bought drugs from Arturo and Ulises.

Brought Ulises to Nicaragua with Don Pancracio, Labarca, and Mexican poets.

Andrs Ramrez A Chilean stowaway. Goes to Spain, wins the lottery, and much later gives Belano a job. Susana Puig Edith Oster A nurse who had an affair with a sick Arturo. A lover who broke Arturo's heart in Barcelona.

The Savage Detectives

Xos Lendoiro

Galician lawyer, adventurer, aspiring poet, admirer of classical Greek and Roman literature who offers Belano a job of reviewing a law school journal. [3] Ignacio Echevarra

Iaki Echavarne Spanish literary critic. Challenged to a sabre duel by Belano.

Critical reception
Several critics have compared the novel to Rayuela (translated into English as Hopscotch) by Argentinian novelist Julio Cortzar, whom Bolao greatly respected, both because of its non-linear structure and its portrayal of young, bohemian artists.

Elements in Common with 2666

2666, Bolao's final, posthumous novel has many points in common with The Savage Detectives. Both conclude in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, in the Mexican state of Sonora, which acts as a stand-in for Ciudad Jurez. In the second part of The Savage Detectives, an author named Arcimboldi is mentioned. In 2666 he will become the central character Benno von Archimboldi. In a dialogue about Cesrea Tinajero, the year 2600 is referred to as "the year of misfortunes". Late in the novel there is a section where, 'Cesrea said something about days to come... and the teacher, to change the subject, asked her what times she meant and when they would be. And Cesrea named a date, sometime around the year 2600. Two thousand six hundred and something.' According to the Note to the First Edition of 2666, among Bolao's notes is a line saying that "The narrator of 2666 is Arturo Belano," a character from The Savage Detectives, as well as a line for the end of 2666, "And that's it, friends. I've done it all, I've lived it all. If I had the strength, I'd cry. I bid you all goodbye, Arturo Belano".

[1] Text of Bolao's acceptance speech for the Rmulo Gallegos Prize (http:/ / dnoriega. wordpress. com/ 2008/ 06/ 04/ bolano-translation-for-triple-canopy/ ) [2] http:/ / mimalapalabrahn. blogspot. mx/ 2009/ 01/ quin-era-auxilio-lacouture. html [3] Harvesting Fragments From a Chilean Master (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2012/ 12/ 20/ books/ woes-of-the-true-policeman-by-roberto-bolano. html?_r=0) Was Bolao's friend and literary executor

External links
Review of The Savage Detectives ( 070326crat_atlarge_zalewski) at The New Yorker Review of The Savage Detectives ( html?_r=0&pagewanted=all) at The New York Times Book Review

Article Sources and Contributors

Article Sources and Contributors

The Savage Detectives Source: Contributors: Adrocker621, Aristophanes68, AshcroftIleum, Ben Regelshore, CommonsDelinker, Erdosain, Fothergill Volkensniff IV, Gobonobo, GrahamHardy, Gremster, Henry Merrivale, Hippietrail, Jaystonehlk, Jmabel, Kallerdis, Macphysto, Marcol, Mara Lima, Mboverload, Mercurywoodrose, Parklinklaters, Peripatetic, PhilKnight, Piel Divina, RJFJR, Roddie Digital, RolandR, Sajs3053, Ser Amantio di Nicolao, Shomit666, SlothropShuffle, Sludge, SqueakBox, Stefanomione, Terrapindweller, Timfrederick, Tony Sidaway, Ttra2332, Welsh, Wholemeal Pitta, 70 anonymous edits

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