Thursday, April 26, 2007

An Inquirer debut ...

... Scott Esposito of Conversational Reading reviews Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives: Hispanic's epic tale makes its English debut.


  1. This is interesting, isn't it?
    Bolanos writes about an underground literary movement of days past.
    The cover of this version of his book uses graphics which are a direct rip-off of ULA graphics (the kind noted in the recent City Paper piece on us)-- the kind of bold graphics we've been using for years.
    You give a nice write-up of this book-- whose relevance to today's society, especially here in Philadelphia, is limited.
    Yet, though the ULA has been based in Philly for almost seven years, has caused excitement with our shows and stunts throughout the east coast, and has received attention almost everywhere else, the Inky has never covered us.
    Curious, isn't it?
    Exactly what attitude do you think we hold about that? Can you guess?
    Literature is a LIVING thing, in the here and now-- or should be.
    When you cover only dead writers from other continents, or American Studebakers, and such, you shouldn't be surprised that folks aren't reading the book review sections here as much as they should.
    Meanwhile, we'll pursue things as we've always pursued them-- the only course which has ever been open for outsider writers in this country: the credo of Do-It-Yourself. (We have our own book review section in the works, in other words. We'll be presenting in our showroom not Studebakers, but souped-up cars with large tires and mucho horsepower.)
    Watch out. Get your guard up. We're going to compete and compete throughout this town and maybe in the process rescue lit from its tired irrelevance.

  2. Frank, just one word in the title of this review really made me impressed with your skills as an editor: "Hispanic."

    During four years of teaching in a Latino neighborhood, I spent a lot of time explaining to students that Latinos live in the US while Hispanics live in Latin America. It's a pedantic distinction, I know, but it always came up in the context of geography and cultural origins. The existence of both Spain and Europe were difficult concepts since DR was the only Spanish-speaking country they knew.

    Also, Scott wrote a very well-thought out review. He was a good choice to cover Bolano.

  3. p.s. Isn't this the second review the Inquirer has done of this book?
    I could swear I saw the book's cover in a Sunday Inky a couple months ago as part of a write-up-- the distinctive ULA-style graphic design.
    The U.S. literary media is apparently giving the book a very big push. They love rebellion when it's a continent or decade-or-two safely away.

  4. This was the only review - though Carlin Romano may have mentioned it in a preview roundup a while back. I'll have to check. The Times had a big review of it, I believe, a couple of weeks ago.