Wednesday, 29 May 2019

The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano

The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano
First published in Spanish as Los detectives salvajes by Editorial Anagrama in Spain in 1998. English language translation by Natasha Wimmer published by Farrar, Straus Giroux in 2007.

A Book with a Vegetarian Character

How I got this book:
Borrowed from a friend

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Winner of the Herralde Prize and the Rómulo Gallegos Prize. Natasha Wimmer’s translation of The Savage Detectives was chosen as one of the ten best books of 2007 by the Washington Post and the New York Times.

New Year’s Eve 1975, Mexico City. Two hunted men leave town in a hurry, on the desert-bound trail of a vanished poet.

Spanning two decades and crossing continents, theirs is a remarkable quest through a darkening universe – our own. It is a journey told and shared by a generation of lovers, rebels and readers, whose testimonies are woven together into one of the most dazzling Latin American novels of the twentieth century.

I really wanted to like The Savage Detectives. Apparently it is a Latin American classic and it would have been the fifth book for my Chilean WorldReads, but after 120 pages (of 577) I am already so bored that I can't bear to read another word. There's no characterisation, no descriptions and nothing is happening. Now I don't always mind nothing happening, but I am getting no sense of the supposed 1970s Mexico City setting and all the characters are just names without any degree of personality. In fact the women don't even warrant being more than abused sex objects if they are teenage, or mother figures if they're much older. I really can't understand how The Savage Detectives managed to garner such praise as is quoted on its cover. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone!

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Roberto Bolano / Historical fiction / Books from Chile


  1. sound interesting story.
    thank you for review

  2. Sometimes I read a bestselling book and also wonder how it garnered all the praise and attention that it did! But oh well, it's good that you at least tried it I guess!