The Savage Detectives, Roberto Bolaņo Best book you've ever read: The Savage Detectives, Roberto Bolaņo

By Nate on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - 01:59 pm:

    I avoid 'best' when talking about books, but this is definitely one of my favorites.

    I read it a couple years ago, when it first came out in English translation and hardcover. It came back into my mind recently and I picked up a copy for a friend of mine. I was at her house last night, flipping through her copy and reading passages. It is an amazing book.

By droopy on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - 02:26 pm:

    why have i not heard of this guy before? according to wikipedia, 'savage detectives' is the "book borges would have written." that's good enough for me.

    checked the online catalogue of my local library. it's checked out.

By Nate on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - 02:57 pm:

    i stumbled on him during my last latino writer phase.

    i think you'll dig it.

By Spider on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - 04:59 pm:

    My dad likes him. I should give him a try.

By Nate on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - 06:22 pm:

    someone asked me my top five books the other day, and this was the most solidly there. i think my list is

    light in august
    wind-up bird chronicles
    pale fire
    savage detectives

    but that's probably because i'm forgetting something, like blood meridian. or tropic of cancer.

    top five lists are too hard.

    'cloud atlas' by david mitchell is another i've read recently that was excellent.

By platypus on Thursday, July 24, 2008 - 02:05 am:

    I adore The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and that's the third recommendation I've seen for Cloud Atlas in a month, so I guess I have to read it now.

    My favourite book this year has been This is the Way the World Ends.

By kazu on Thursday, July 24, 2008 - 10:22 am:

    Pale Fire is one of my favorite books. I need to read it again.

By sarah on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - 03:14 pm:

    i like to make a distinction between the best books i've ever read versus my favorite books.

    the best books i've ever read are almost always serious fiction and / or classical literature.

    my favorite books are sometimes the same as the best books, but sometimes my favorite books are not serious fiction. sometimes they are just original stories that are well written.

    in no particular order, my favorite books written in my lifetime are

    the last samurai - dewitt
    the ground beneath her feet - rushdie
    the time traveler's wife - niffenegger
    girlfriend in a coma - coupland
    the corrections - franzen
    the human stain - roth

    i can't think of any more right now.

    and jesus h christ why the hell is everyone so in love with the road by mccarthy. what a deplorable, unoriginal, boring waste of time. there's not even a story told, it's just one long premise of a story. it seems like he probably came up with a handful of elegantly written sentences that expressed some existential mood swing he was having, and then decided to write a book just to incorporate those sentences.

    he should have just written a poem instead.

    i am about 1/3 of the way through water for elephants right now, which is a lovely story, easy reading, but overly formulaic. i'm tired of reading new york times best sellers that read like they were written for the sole purpose of getting a hollywood contract to make the book into a major motion picture.

By Dougie on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - 04:09 pm:

    On the rare occasions I stay up late enough anymore, I check out Craig Ferguson. Dude cracks me up. He's got a new book, "Between the Bridge and the River" which I just received yesterday from Amazon. That'll be my next read. I like McCarthy, but I agree with you sarah, I didn't think much of "The Road."

By Spider on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - 04:44 pm:

    I liked it. I thought it was a compelling story. The world and the characters he created were believable, the prose wasn't as painterly as in "Blood Meridian" but was still creative, and he talked about good and evil at a time when I needed to hear someone else's thoughts on the subject. And that was good enough for me. :)

    I'm reading Pat Barker's "Border Crossing" right now because I needed a break from all the post-modern magician's acts I was swimming in. "Border Crossing" really doesn't do anything that her "Regeneration" didn't do before and better -- it's the story of the relationship between a psychologist and his charming sociopathic patient -- but her world is solid and she writes crisply and elegantly, without theatrics. It's like eating a simple sorbet after a rich seven-course meal.

    "Regeneration" is one of my favorites. I think I would say my favorite books of adult fiction are (in no order):

    "Regeneration" (Barker)
    "Possession" (Byatt)
    "The Crimson Petal and the White" (Faber)
    "At Swim-Two-Birds" (O'Brien)
    "Light in August" (Faulkner)
    "The Robber Bride" (Atwood)

    The last one is iffy. I feel like I'm forgetting something.

By Spider on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - 04:52 pm:

    "The Virgin Suicides" is the most overrated book I've read recently. Actually, I gave up about 1/3 way through because I thought it was so flat and boring.

    If you've read it and liked it, tell me what I was missing. Did it just start slowly?

By Nate on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - 05:15 pm:

    i've never read the virgin suicides. i adore the movie, though.

    the road definitely benefited from his name being on the cover. i thought it was worth reading, but if i want to talk about mccarthy i'm going to start with other works.

    i'm reading divisadero (ondaatje) right now. it's good.

By droopy on Monday, March 30, 2015 - 02:08 am:

    was returning some books to the library - a Maigret mystery
    and short stories by a local texas author - and happened to
    notice a roberto bolano book on the "new arrivals" display. it
    was called "a little lumpen novelita." so i picked it up. i never
    did get around to finding a bolano (i'm too lazy to do the tilde)
    when this thread started. but I read the "novelita." i definitely
    want to read more of him.

By ... on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - 08:26 pm:

    I got about 100 pages into 2666, which has been
    described as his magnum opus. I don't remember now why
    I gave up on it, except that I remember it as feeling
    like a 900-page avalanche. I just got it off the shelf
    and will try again. There is a stage version of 2666
    coming to the Goodman Theater in Chicago some time next

By droopy on Thursday, April 2, 2015 - 01:51 am:

    my shelves are filled with books i started and
    stopped at some point. i could make them a summer
    reading list.

    the "lumpen novelita" would be a be a good
    introductory book. it's a novella, obviously--
    short, with chapters maybe 3 or 4 pages long. it
    reminded me of a book called "the gangster we are
    all looking for" by le thi diem thuy.

    i have trouble reading, these days. i read the
    whole book aloud. otherwise, i forget what i just
    read. pathetic. but what else am i going to do?

By Antigone on Friday, April 3, 2015 - 01:27 am:

    The only two books I started but had to put down:

    Ulysses - James Joyce

    Battlefield Earth - L Ron Hubbard

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