Everybody was talking about Bolaño this year because of 2666, but Dan got 2666 for Christmas and I got The Savage Detectives. We started reading them around the same time, and despite the fact that 2666 is at least twice as long, I finished a month later.
I’m not sure what my problem is with Latin American literature. These two books weren’t written in the same language, much less from the same country, but there’s something about them both that just made reading a grind. Maybe it’s wading through all those names.
There are extraordinary passages in The Savage Detectives, though, and I knew that the ending would be transformative. I’m glad I read it. I just don’t think I got it.
Magical realism is exactly the kind of genre I should like but for some reason I just don’t. I want more magic or more realism and less of both (here it was the “magic” that was lacking). Again, there were individual scenes and even whole chapters in Dona Flor that were funny and incisive and great, but the story wasn’t propulsive for me. I could stop reading this and have no particular motivation to pick it up again. I do want to learn more about Bahian cuisine, though, which sounds fantastic.