It takes a lot for me to abandon a book once I’ve started reading it, and that struggle becomes more and more serious the further I progress through said book. So, perhaps this is why I was able to drop Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detective after reading just over 1/3 of the book (though, 1/3 is often too far for me to abandon a book; I suppose this speaks to what a true waste of time I felt The Savage Detectives to be).
First, to address any of the friends who suggested I read this book: my faith in your taste is not diminished in the least. I believe my grip is mostly a matter of personal disinterest in the subject matter. I mean, no matter how good a book about baseball is written, I wouldn’t be excited to read it. The Savage Detectives is about teenagers without responsibility who worship poetry, yet refuse to do anything to enhance its gospel. I can respect people who share their world-saving ideas. I can’t respect people who claim to have world-saving ideas but keep them for themselves. Okay, I’m getting convoluted here. So, these kids think poetry is amazing. They think it has the power to change the world for the better. But instead of acting on that belief, they sit around, get drunk, have sex, and…that’s all.
I’ve heard Bolano’s most famous novel, 2666, isn’t much different, in terms of what gripes I have with The Savage Detectives, so I’ll likely avoid it. But his short novel, By Night in Chile, seems different enough and might be worth my time.
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About Caleb J. Ross
Caleb began writing his sophomore year of undergrad study when, tired of the formal art education then being taught, he abandoned the pursuit in the middle of a compositional drawing class. Major-less and fearful of losing his financial aid, he signed up to seek a degree in English Literature for no other reason than his lengthy history with the language. Coincidentally, this decision not only introduced him to writing but to reading as well. Prior this transition he had read three books. One of which he understood.