By Jennifer Reese
March 30, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Savage Detectives

B+
type
  • Book
Genre

To be honest, I never would’ve persevered to the end of the late Roberto Bolaño’s sometimes wonderful, often maddening 577-page novel, The Savage Detectives, if I were not paid to do so. The putative focus is two ”visceral realist” poets whose adventures from the 1970s to the ’90s — lovemaking, troublemaking, and talking literature through Mexico, Spain, Austria, Israel, Liberia, and Arizona — are recounted by scores of narrators whose accounts offer glimpses of the heroes while dwelling on their own unrelated issues. Taking it all in requires stamina, but the novel bursts with marvelous stories, rude energy, and eccentric voices that ultimately reward your effort. B+

The Savage Detectives

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