The 4th book, 'THE PART ABOUT THE CRIMES' was, for me, utterly spellbinding. I've written myself about the complete lack of worth a human life can possess in Latin America but nothing I managed to put down on paper comes close to Bolano's unrelenting prose. As others have commented it is still all going on in Ciudad Juarez on the Mexican border. Phenomenal writing - I would argue that the publishers called it wrongly, this section of the novel should have been published in its own right. It stands as a worthy literary tribute to the multitudes of young female desaparecidos and murdered victims of Juarez.
In Bolano's words "We must continue to turn to sex, books, and travel, even knowing they will lead us to the abyss, which, as it happens, is the only place we can find the cure." Sound familiar?
A good review of The Savage Detectives and Bolano himself can be found at www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2007/03/26/070326crat_atlarge_zalewski
I have had disturbing dreams whilst reading Amulet. This short hallucinatory novel seems all the more believable as you know that Bolano has been there. This is not just the imaginings of a very creative mind. I think the man is a genius - there is sheer quality in his writing and ideas.
An early novel of Bolano's which probably wouldn't have seen light of day had he not died so young. I like the fact that this novella was entered for multiple competitions by Bolano to try and earn the then struggling poet some needed cash and the fact that it actually won two prizes in Spain without anyone making the connection - back in pre-Internet days!! For aficionados only.