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By Night in Chile


The Savage Detectives is an exuberant, raunchy, wildly inventive, and ambitious novel from one of the greatest Latin American authors of our age. 

New Year's Eve, 1975: Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima, founders of the visceral realist movement in poetry, leave Mexico City in a borrowed white Impala. Their quest: to track down the obscure, vanished poet Cesárea Tinajero. A violent showdown in the Sonora desert turns search to flight; twenty years later Belano and Lima are still on the run.

The explosive first long work by "the most exciting writer to come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time" (Ilan Stavans, Los Angeles Times), The Savage Detectives follows Belano and Lima through the eyes of the people whose paths they cross in Central America, Europe, Israel, and West Africa. This chorus includes the muses of visceral realism, the beautiful Font sisters; their father, an architect interned in a Mexico City asylum; a sensitive young follower of Octavio Paz; a foul-mouthed American graduate student; a French girl with a taste for the Marquis de Sade; the great-granddaughter of Leon Trotsky; a Chilean stowaway with a mystical gift for numbers; the anorexic heiress to a Mexican underwear empire; an Argentinian photojournalist in Angola; and assorted hangers-on, detractors, critics, lovers, employers, vagabonds, real-life literary figures, and random acquaintances.

A polymathic descendant of Borges and Pynchon, Roberto Bolaño traces the hidden connection between literature and violence in a world where national boundaries are fluid and death lurks in the shadow of the avant-garde. The Savage Detectives is a dazzling original, the first great Latin American novel of the twenty-first century.

“One of the most respected and influential writers of [his] generation . . . At once funny and vaguely, pervasively, frightening.” ―John Banville, The Nation

“The brightest hope for the future of South American literature.” ―Andreas Breitenstein, Neuen Zürcher Zeitung

“An event…The Savage Detectives [is] a brutal and lyrical vision of the last thirty years of the millennium.” ―Fabienne Dumontet, Le Monde des Livres

“A rare and fertile talent.” ―Amaia Gabantxo, The Times Literary Supplement

“Certain books go by too quickly. We wish they'd last longer and count the pages, not out of boredom, but out of anxiety at having to tell the characters goodbye. The Savage Detectives is one of these books…In the twists and turns of its mock-scholarly construction, The Savage Detectives succeeds in capturing both the fever of the past and the terrible, impossible yearning to have it back.” ―Fabrice Gabriel, Les Inrockuptibles

“Bolaño, it seemed to me, hovers over many young Latin American writers, even those in their 40s, the way Garciá Márquez must have over his generation and the following one.” ―Francisco Goldman, The New York Times

“Powerful and disorienting . . . [Bolaño's] books are bursting with humour that is both raw and sophisticated.” ―Angel Gurria-Quintana, The Financial Times

“Bolaño is a prodigious storyteller on the level of Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo.” ―Elena Hevia, El Periodico


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