Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 13 of 30 - A fictional book

Here is the current book I am reading (and loving!):

The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño

I haven't finished this book yet, and am only about halfway through. However, from what I have read so far is very impressive in terms of craftsmanship and ambition. It is supposed to document an entire South American literary movement known as "visceral realism." The first section is a series of journal entries from a visceral realist poet, but the second section is where it goes off the deep end in an amazing and wonderful way.

The second section of the book is a collage of newspaper articles, academic journal entries, correspondence, and interviews all intended to document the entire visceral realist movement. This literary collage jumps from author to author, each with a different intent and voice. It is incredibly ambitious and could fall flat in many places. Surprisingly, it does not, and gets even more compelling as I read further.

A cursory glance of the Amazon reviews show that people either love or hate this book - there are almost as many five-star reviews as one-star reviews. I can understand this - the book contains a story that could only take the form of literature. This is a celebration of life and language and the way great words shape and influence our lives.


Susan said...

So, being married and officially grown up now, I decided to join a book club. I really should blog about it but I had to mention it after seeing what you're reading and your reaction to the wolverine comic. I joined the club and all they're reading is 12+ fiction.

You read the correctly. Teenage fiction. I am leaving said book club.

M. Robert Turnage said...

Wow. This reminds me of when I was at a former employer and was more or less bullied by my co-workers (many of whom were in their 40s and 50s) into reading the Harry Potter books. When a new book came out they had reading contests to see who could finish first.

It also reminds me of when I was much younger and tried to impress a cute young lady by telling her I read and loved "The Babysitters Club" books, too. It did not work.

So, yeah... the Savage Detectives is definitely big-L Literature primarily because it is all about characters who are obsessed with Latin American Literature. So there is extensive discussion of Chilean poets and magical realism and stuff like that.

M. Robert Turnage said...

Have you tried to find a book group? I have had good luck with that website.

Susan said...

I will definitely look into it. The bad thing is I'm morbidly curious as to what their next book pick will be. What really blows my mind is that there are books in adult fiction that do not have foul language, sex or anything along those lines that they don't find "proper". They just don't want to have to read big words.