Re: The Savage Detectives
Posted by Steven on 22/1/2012, 13:38:24, in reply to "Re: The Savage Detectives"
Part II reminded me of old-style TV documentaries in which an unseen interviewer stops people in the course of daily activities to ask them a question, but you hear only the answer. The result is like a collage with two man-sized missing pieces in the middle, Belano and Lima, because we hear from everyone but them and what we know about them is a composite of the opinions and observations of others. |
Another interesting aspect to the story is that it is all about poets, but there is no poetry. The two central figures never produce anything, nor, as far as we know, did the revered Cesárea Tinajero. It's as if "poet" is more a state of mind than an activity. Likewise we hear all about "visceral realism" except what it means.
I'm sure this was intentional: Juan García Madero narrates Parts I and III, but is never mentioned in Part II. He gives himself a central role in events but no one else even mentions his presence.
You're right that the poets themselves aren't likable, especially Ulises Lima when he goes mugging old men in Vienna. Belano at least has some redeeming qualities.
: I'm done with "The Savage Detectives". I must
: say I started this book with deep misgivings: two
: people in whose literary judgment I trust, including
: my brother, had told me they hadn't liked it. In his
: opinion, my brother says, Bolano wrote parts I and III
: and then filled it with the long and convoluted psrt
: II, to "thicken the plot". Well, it may be
: so, but I happened to like part II very much. Indeed,
: I enjoyed the novel and devoured it in spite of a very
: intense and stressful work schedule.
: Beyond the fact that a lot of the action happens in
: Mexico, which makes it easier to picture, I found that
: the literary device of telling the story through the
: testimonies of many characters who encounter Belano
: and Lima along their lives was fascinating. Instead of
: telling it straightforward, in omniscient-third-person
: style, Bolano paint his picture piece by piece, across
: the thick lense of each character's experience with
: the main characters, so giving the story a dense,
: multidimensional quality. Granted, neither Arturo
: Belano nor Ulises Lima are likable at all, at least in
: my opinion. Interestingly, some of the minor
: characters are more attractive, even if none of them
: is really adorable or admirable. What did you guys
: think of it? I have more to say, but suffice it for
: --Previous Message--
: Good grief, I need to proofread better.
: I was going to say beyond her catch phrases, and then
: decided to leave that off.
: And of course, she sayS she is in her prime.