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Chile’s poet-revolutionary

Since his death in 2003, Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño has undergone a process of sanctification. The Savage Detectives is a novel that teems with poets and literary movements, yet doesn't take literature too seriously

The Savage Detectives, by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer (Picador, £16.99)

The death of Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño in 2003 was not premature in the way rock-star deaths are premature, but for those familiar with his life and work, it was tragic. Born in Santiago in 1953, Bolaño moved to Mexico in 1968 with his parents, and was soon moving in Trotskyite poet-revolutionary circles. Returning to Santiago in the summer of 1973, Bolaño witnessed the military coup led by Augusto Pinochet on 11th September, and ended up in prison. He managed to escape by sheer luck—one of the guards…

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