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Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño's life, "2666" was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of Santa Teresa--a fictional Juárez--on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared.
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. Roberto Bolaño was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He grew up in Chile and Mexico City, where he was a founder of the Infra-realist Poetry Movement. His first full-length novel, The Savage Detectives, received the Herralde Prize and the Rómulo Gallegos Prize when it appeared in 1998. Roberto Bolaño died in Blanes, Spain, at the age of fifty. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year; A Washington Post Top 10 Book of the Year; A New York Magazine Top 10 Book of the Year; A Los Angeles Times Favorite Book of the Year; A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year; A Kirkus Review Top 10 Book of the Year. In this dazzling novel, the book that established his international reputation, Roberto Bolaño tells the story of two modern-day Quixotes the last survivors of an underground literary movement, perhaps of literature itself on a tragicomic quest through a darkening, entropic universe: our own. The Savage Detectives is, in the words of El País, The kind of novel Borges would have written ... An original and magnificent book: funny, moving, important." "When I began reading The Savage Detectives last month, I had already devoured the first three of Bolaño's books to arrive in English two short novels, By Night in Chile and Distant Star, and the story collection Last Evenings on Earth and become a devoted fan. But I was still unprepared for The Savage Detectives, the work that made his reputation when it first appeared in 1998, and for which he was awarded the Rómulo Gallegos Prize. Available now in a seamless translation by Natasha Wimmer, this novel is an utterly unique achievement a modern epic rich in character and event, suffused in every sentence with Bolaño's unsettling mix of precision and mystery. It's a lens through which the strange becomes ordinary and the ordinary is often very strange.