Cool Thing #3

Ever heard of Roberto Bolaño? No? Shame on you! Okay, maybe that’s being a little harsh, but if you’re an avid reader (and you should be) Roberto Bolaño is an author that you’re going to want to check out asap! His books are incredibly difficult and taxing and complicated reads, but more importantly they reveal a secret importance beneath them that is different for every reader.


The work that first introduced me to Bolaño was his posthumously published (sadly Bolaño passed away in 2003) magnum opus 2666, and I must admit, this was a book I judged initially only by its cover.

How could you not buy a book with this cover?

How do you describe a book of such magnitude (it clocks in at around 900 pages!)? Mind-blowing is the only term that comes to mind.  Fascinating stories within stories about love, war, sex, violence, it really has everything.

Separated into five interconnected parts, Bolaño’s 2666 is a disturbing, but eye opening experience that no reader should pass by.

The Savage Detectives

After having read Bolaño’s 2666 I needed two things that were impossible to accomplish simultaneously, but both equally dire.  The first being a break from Roberto Bolaño (2666 was an exhausting, but required read, think Ulysses) and the second being I needed to get my hands on more of his works as soon as possible!  So I did the next best thing to both at the same time, I purchased his first full length novel The Savage Detectives, but kept it to the side and read Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore.

After finishing Murakami, I was ready to get back into the game.

Equally as exhausting as 2666? Giddy up. Equally as satisfying? Giddy up again.

I am currently in the process of reading The Savage Detectives, and I have to say it is a very similar experience to 2666.  Almost always exhausting to read, yes.  But always thought provoking, always mind-bending.

I have purposely left out synopsis or summaries, partially out of lack of energy, but more prominently because Bolaño’s novels really don’t lend themselves to summaries.  They are about so much more than the main arc of the story, the main story acts as a catalyst to the symbolism that emerges from every line of prose.

For a quick information fix on Roberto Bolaño:

To purchase his books:

Or at any major book store near you.

Have a great evening and thanks for reading!



About Tim Horn

I have recently acquired a degree in Film Studies at the University of Manitoba and am now enrolled in the Creative Communications program at Red River College. Film, Literature, Music, Comic Books, and Video Games. These are the things that feed my brain and keep me sane.
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3 Responses to Cool Thing #3

  1. Tim, this is a very intriguing post. I’m glad you finally wrote about this author because I’ve seen The Savage Detectives beside you in class and constantly read the back, thinking it’s going to give me more of a hint.

    What I find interesting, and it’s impeccable timing really that you posted this, is that recently I had a conversation with a friend about story arcs. How the North American model leaves much to be desired. And frankly, I do believe that Ken Finkleman was touching on this idea during his seminar. The trite notion of the powerful plot and the very “popular allegories” of Western culture. Do you find that Bolano is more the other end of the spectrum? or does even he too fall into this trap? Is Bolano’s writing perhaps characteristic of his culture?

    Let me know your thoughts,


    • Tim Horn says:

      Daniella, I’m not sure if his style of writing is characteristic of his culture, but what he writes about is directly related. In The Savage Detectives, the majority of the characters live in relative poverty, and their living conditions are dangerous to say the least. 2666 revolves around the serial killing and raping of hundreds (if not thousands) of women in the fictional city of Santa Teresa (a stand in for Ciudad Juarez) and it is this violence that acts as a running theme throughout the novel.

      I am not sure if Bolano’s style is in line with Finkleman’s vision of writing because much of it is based largely in the symbolic where as I believe Finkleman spoke of simplicity being his preferred style. With that being said however, there are times when Bolano’s writing is disturbingly simple, disturbingly blunt. And these are the moments that seem to reflect most what Finkleman was discussing.


  2. “disturbingly simple, disturbingly blunt”
    well said, I must agree that the writers who speak volumes don’t often have to write them; although, it does seem that Bolano is a man of many words. I mentioned Finkleman in relation to his critique of North American “Hollywood” writing vs. what makes authors like Bolano stand out, culturally and in the context of writing and how they use the language. The symbolic is everywhere and especially as writers, we have the opportunity to play and draw it out in infinite ways. I’m really keen on reading some of his work now.

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