I just stumbled upon this sweeping 2007 review of Bolaño’s Savage Detectives by Daniel Zalewski of the New Yorker. It talks not just about the writer’s twisted and tragic life story, but also about his rejection of literary mainstream and his dislike for Magic Realism — only to introduce a new term that I couldn’t agree more with:
When “The Savage Detectives” was published, Ignacio Echevarría, Spain’s most prominent literary critic, praised it as “the kind of novel that Borges could have written.” He got it half right. Borges, whose longest work of fiction is fifteen pages, would likely have admired the way Bolaño’s novel emerges from a branching tree of stories. But what would he have made of the delirious road trip, the frenzied sex, the sloppy displays of male ego? Bolaño fills his canvas with messy Lawrencian emotions but places them within a coolly cerebral frame. It’s a style worthy of its own name: visceral modernism.