Archive for March, 2009


The savage detectives / Roberto BolaƱo ; translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer.
Imprint New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

The bookgroupers challenged me to write the review of our group’s discussion of this book in the style of the book. So i’ve tried to do that both structurally and stylistically.

Structurally the first part is a diary of my bookgroup day. the second part is a fictitious set of interviews about the book and the bookgroup with people who were not there on the day, that is during the period of the diary. the third part is a continuation of the diary. That is the structure of the book.

style wise you will note short sentences and concrete nouns, little use of abstract concepts or emotional words, and an emphasis on food, drink and sex.

15 mar 1030am
Disappointed i didn’t have sex last night. Being sunday morning I want eggs, and with nothing else to do i went to this place i know on park street to get some.

I ordered eggs and coffee. the usual waitress was not there. The new girl smiled at me but she was nervous

The eggs were dull and the coffee was average.

The place is half full with st patricks day parade spectators. They are ready to start drinking. Some already have. I heard an old lady say to her husband how many beers have you had, only about four he said.

The rest of the people in here look like lovers. like they have just woken up. Even so they seem ready to start quarelling. i saw a guy about 20 lean forward in his chair. It nearly tipped over, he didn’t notice, he cupped his girlfriends face in his two hands. she pulled back and slapped him on the arm. He dropped his head so low it touched the table, she looked away.

so I didn’t stay long. I went home to read a book by bolano. its a book about a bunch of mexican poets called visceral realists, whatever that is

After a few hours I went to bookgroup. on the way there i saw fred nile in belmore park. he was marching with Koreans – something about a holy city. At the dulwich hill bottle shop they were selling retsina. i didnt buy any. At the topless bar in petersham the car park was full. i didnt suggest we go in

Peter arrived late to bookgroup. I noticed he had little flecks of green grass on the cuff of one pant leg. We talked and drank. At one point the sun shone on mark’s earring.

So you want to know what happened at bookgroup. Well I didn’t go to that group and i didnt read the book. what i heard was that there was some discussion about whether the book was in fact a book or just a collection of stories cobbled together to look like a book, in order to make some cash for a unsuccesful poet

what can i tell you about the book? I didn’t read the book and didn’t go to the group. I did talk to the others though. I heard it was very long and hard going. Just a male adolescent fantasy with a twist of autobiography was what i heard. the author was an unknown poor poet much like the book’s narrator I’m told.

what did i hear about the last bookgroup? Unfortunately I couldn’t get to group, but I heard the book was great. Short sentences. really well observed. Apparently the author managed to give insights into the characters’ inner world by reporting specific details of what the character is noticing in the real world. sounds interesting and I’m keen to read it, but I don’t really get what it’s about. I’m not sure if it’s diary or not or where the detectives come into it.

I’m talking to the bookgroupers about bolano’s book. Mark is saying he has known poets. They are poor, they only know other poets and they just talk about poetry. so a book about them is going to be full of poets talking to each other about other poets, with a storyline that shows how poor they are and how much they drink.

i thought maybe i should be a poet afterall.

We ate and we left. i might call her when i get home. i’ll check my email first.


March 22, 2009 at 8:49 am Leave a comment


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