November 12, 2008


james kidd

The Savage Detectives was an amazing book, and from what I've heard 2666 is even better. Looking forward to next posts.

Juan Murillo

Lethem´s review of 2666 has raised all manners of hell in the spanish speaking blog world with its claim that Roberto Bolaño was a heroin addict, which he wasn´t. The claim appears to have spread via unchecked repetition between different reviewers in english speaking media as disparate as The New Yorker, The Guardian and Time.

Heads up so you don´t join the hall of shame. Also, i think this story about journalists not checking their facts before they review a book is a story in itself.

If you read spanish, the controversy is ongoing here:





Looking at those posts you provided, Juan, it's still not clear if knowledgeable people are actually refuting that Bolano used heroin at some point, or whether they're simply irritated that the assertion is being made so definitively without evidence.

Juan Murillo

At this point the theory for the origin of the assertion is a fiction piece Bolaño published in a Spanish paper where the narrator makes a confession of heroin use in first person. This is the link to the actual piece:


I think the reaction has been one more of surprise than irritation since Bolaño has become such an icon and his life has been reviewed so carefully in the past few years, such a juicy piece of info would not have passed unnoticed.

The jury is still out on this one, as you correctly point out, but i suspect it is a case of copy-paste journalism.

Kelvin Alejandro

I loved Savage Detectives until the middle. I stopped reading “Savage” when it became a shifting point of view novel. Hopefully I will finish reading 2666 and get to experience Roberto’s "genius" to its full and conclusive extent. As a Hispanic reader/writer I love the idea of a Latin writer so set against magic realism and who wishes to explore Latin America as a literary device that interlopes with a contemporary world, even if its futuristic one. 100 Years Of Solitude said it all in terms of the “Macondo” experience.

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