Interview: Reader Who Recently Finished The Savage Detectives
1. So how long did it take you to read the book?
I didn’t actually finish the book. So when people talk about the ending (this happened the other day in the lime aisle) I have to front like I know what they are saying. Like yesterday, in the lime aisle, this elderly woman saw me with the book and said, “That’s a funny book. I like the monologue by the guy who draws the dwarves with giant penises. That’s the best monologue I’ve read from a mentally defective character since Faulkner.” And I just had to shake my head and smile and fake it. So.
2. Did you ever read the book in public places or leave the book out purposefully when visitors were over?
Ha Ha. Well, yes, as I mentioned the grocery store. I mean I know there’s like this Bolano surge right now and so then a backlash (Newtonian law there) and a lot of my friends (so-called) sort of rolled their eyes over me reading Bolano but fuck them. I walk alone, you know? I’m not going to have others deciding what I want to read. I mean that would be almost anti-literature. I couldn’t read something just to say I’ve read it. That would be like picking your college major because your parents want you to be like a landscape architect or something. I mean only about 20% or something of people even have a college degree. The entire point is to select your occupation, to attempt to create your destiny, and you’re just going to toss it away? You’re just going to abdicate free will? Fuck that. I’m not reading a damn thing for others. That would be death.
3. How did you deal with the footnotes, I mean logistically? I know some people like to use two bookmarks.
What in the fuck are you talking about?
4. Have you read other Bolano? How did this book compare?
I read The Third Reich. It was serialized in The Paris Review. I felt like Charles Dickens and shit reading a serialized novel. It was a strong book, very, very technical (something Bolano prided himself on, when he wanted to write a technical book) and with this ominous undertone, the constant state of threat, a character who really NEEDS TO HELP HIMSELF and knows it, but just can’t. You ever felt that way? I have. I could relate. You ever stuck a cattle prod down your throat but LIKED THE TASTE? (That’s a metaphor, BTW) I also read that short story collection where every story (IMO) is really about writing. Craft, how to write, etc. It might look like the stories are about something else, but you’re wrong. It’s called something last evenings? I don’t remember. But Bolano, in his essence, is always writing about writing. That’s what he gives a shit about, period
5. Did you ever read the book while on drugs or alcohol?
Yesterday, around 10:30 am, I drank 4 Budweiser. I then went and exchanged a gun case for a longer gun case because the first gun case was too short. This was an odd exchange, in that I MADE money. I got 4$ back for a LONGER gun case. Very odd. I then went and had a jalapeno and black olive pizza and two more beers, some summer beer. I cut the yard, stopping the mower every few minutes to go into my shed and drink cans of Budweiser. I drank 8 more cans. Near the end of mowing, the mower ran out of gas. I went to the gas station and bought gas and two 24 ounce Icehouse and drank both before attempting to read Bolano before bed. I passed out, though.
6. What other “large books” have you undertaken?
War and Peace. Infinite Jest. I couldn’t finish Infinite Jest. War and Peace is the best book I’ve ever read, period. Holy fuck.
7. What type of training did you do to read Savage Detectives?
I’m in excellent shape so none. I have great stamina in all of my life’s underdoings.
8. What type of pacing did you use? Did you read the same amount daily or read it in spurts or what?
I just read it when I could. You know, before all of this fucking smart phones and tablets and whatnot, that’s what you did. Getting your oil changed? Eating lunch? Taking a bath? READ A BOOK. We’re losing that, man. We’re losing that culture, and one day we’re all going to wake up and face the stone.
9. Did you ever think about quitting?
Never. Never, ever give up.
10. Do you think everyone should read Savage Detectives?
Fuck no. Look, not everyone can handle reading…a lot of shit. You know? I work at a Pizza Hut and at a certain point you start to get a feel of how people are. Like my coworkers. Every cook at our restaurant smokes weed, all of them. My manager (married of course) is having an age inappropriate sexual relationship with two of the delivery drivers. We throw out over a hundred pounds of dough and other perfectly good food items nightly. What a waste! No one claims their tips as is federally required. We prank call Dominoes, man. I could go on. There’s not a lot of good people out there. I’m not recommending this book to everyone.
11. Did you feel a need to talk about “reading Savage Detectives” to others while reading the book?
Yes. But only my friends who are into Bolano. I just did it because the book is funny and when you discuss funny scenes with others you re-remember the scene and it sorts of gives you a glow, it releases dopamine I think. So it feels good and I like to feel good.
12. Where is the book now?
I don’t know. I’m not going to go look now.
13. Well, you did it. What did you think of the experience?
It was excellent. The book is very odd, I mean structurally. You begin with this little poetry guy in Mexico and lots of great literary talk and great sex scenes (Bolano can write sex—most can’t) and then BAM, suddenly the entire middle 300+ pages or so is in monologues! WTF? Some of the monologues are good and some horrid and some very good. Then I think it returns to the poetry kid, maybe. As I said I didn’t quite finish, so I fake that part in conversation.
14. What are you going to read after this endeavor?
I’m have a shit-load of small press books and other things I’m about to hit. Let’s see. The June print issue of Everyday Genius, Tell Everyone I said Hi, by Chad Simpson. Apostle Islands, by Tommy Zurhellen. The Whiskey Edition of the Burnside Review. The Last Repatriate by Matthew Salesses. Some old Poetry magazines someone left near the folding table and some other things. Just whatever.