Filed under: Bookshelf, Reading | Tags: poetry, Roberto Bolano, The Savage Detectives
“the search for a place to live and a place to work [is] the common fate of all humanity,”
Funny old book, this. The first section – an account of the lives and loves and passions and battles of young poets in 70s Mexico City is sad and thrilling and brilliant at conveying the way the obsessions of our youth wither or get supplanted and how losing that kind of feverish obsession is heartbreaking but inevitable.
The middle section, which in part I guess looks at what happens when we stay obsessed, is wonderfully done – a series of interviews with bit players and friends, lovers and enemies, all with amazingly discrete and distinctive voices and characters. But in the end it becomes confusing and indulgent and dull and led to me giving up.
But that’s been bothering me so today I skipped to the last, short section where the escape from Mexico City that ends section 1 is resolved in a kind of matter of fact tragedy…
Not sure, finally, what I think. The first and third sections have some brilliant writing and would probably have made for a pretty good novel in themselves. But I suspect the middle section is ‘the point’, somehow, and here it just got away from me.
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