30+ quotes from The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño

Quotes from The Savage Detectives

Roberto Bolaño ·  577 pages

Rating: (25.4K votes)


“There is a time for reciting poems and a time for fists.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Nothing happened today. And if anything did, I’d rather not talk about it, because I didn’t understand it.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“we interpret life at moments of the deepest desperation.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Write in the morning, revise in the afternoon, read at night, and spend the rest of your time exercising your diplomacy, stealth, and charm.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Poetry and prison have always been neighbors.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“I'm an educated man, the prisons I know are subtle ones.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“I kept having dreams all night. I thought they were touching me with their fingers. But dreams don't have fingers, they have fists, so it must have been scorpions.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Being alone makes us stronger. That’s the honest truth. But it’s cold comfort, since even if I wanted company no one will come near me anymore.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Every book in the world is out there waiting to be read by me.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“In some lost fold of the past, we wanted to be lions and we're no more than castrated cats”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“There's a time for reciting poems and a time for fists. As far as I was concerned, this was the latter.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“For a while, Criticism travels side by side with the Work, then Criticism vanishes and it's the Readers who keep pace. The journey may be long or short. Then the Readers die one by one and the Work continues on alone, although a new Criticism and new Readers gradually fall into step with it along its path. Then Criticism dies again and the Readers die again and the Work passes over a trail of bones on its journey toward solitude. To come near the work, to sail in her wake, is a sign of certain death, but new Criticism and new Readers approach her tirelessly and relentlessly and are devoured by time and speed. Finally the Work journeys irremediably alone in the Great Vastness. And one day the Work dies, as all things must die and come to an end: the Sun and the Earth and the Solar System and the Galaxy and the farthest reaches of man's memory. Everything that begins as comedy ends in tragedy.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Of all the islands he'd visited, two stood out. The island of the past, he said, where the only time was past time and the inhabitants were bored and more or less happy, but where the weight of illusion was so great that the island sank a little deeper into the river every day. And the island of the future, where the only time was the future, and the inhabitants were planners and strivers, such strivers, said Ulises, that they were likely to end up devouring one another.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“You can woo a girl with a poem, but you can't hold onto her with a poem. Not even with a poetry movement.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“We're artists too, but we do a good job hiding it, don't we?”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Literature isn't innocent. I've known that since I was fifteen.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Drink up, boys, drink up and don’t worry, if we finish this bottle we’ll go down and buy another one. Of course, it won’t be the same as the one we’ve got now, but it’ll still be better than nothing. Ah, what a shame they don’t make Los Suicidas mezcal anymore, what a shame that time pases, don’t you think? what a shame that we die, and get old, and everything good goes galloping away from us.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“In a brief moment of lucidity, I was sure that we'd all gone crazy. But then that moment of lucidity was displaced by a supersecond of superlucidity (if I can put it that way), in which I realized that this scene was the logical outcome of our ridiculous lives. It wasn't a punishment but a new wrinkle. It gave us a glimpse of ourselves in our common humanity. It wasn't proof of our idle guilt but a sign of our miraculous and pointless innocence. But that's not it. That's not it. We were still and they were in motion and the sand on the beach was moving, not because of the wind but because of what they were doing and what we were doing, which was nothing, which was watching, and all of that together was the wrinkle, the moment of superlucidity. Then, nothing.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Life left us all where we were meant to be or where it was convenient to leave us and then forgot us, which is as it should be.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Supe entonces, con humildad, con perplejidad, en un arranque de mexicanidad absoluta, que estábamos gobernados por el azar y que en esa tormenta todos nos ahogaríamos, y supe que sólo los más astutos, no yo ciertamente, iban a mantenerse a flote un poco más de tiempo.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“There are books for when you’re bored. Plenty of them. There are books for when you’re calm. The best kind, in my opinion. There are also books for when you’re sad. And there are books for when you’re happy. There are books for when you’re thirsty for knowledge. And there are books for when you’re desperate.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Qué lástima que pase el tiempo ¿verdad?, qué lástima que nos muramos y que nos hagamos viejos y que las cosas buenas se vayan alejando de nosotros al galope.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“I’m seventeen years old, my name is Juan García Madero, and I’m in my first semester of law school. I wanted to study literature, not law, but my uncle insisted, and in the end I gave in. I’m an orphan, and someday I’ll be a lawyer. That’s what I told my aunt and uncle, and then I shut myself in my room and cried all night.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Not only to myself or before the mirror or at the hour of my death, which I hope will be long in coming, but in the presence of my children and my wife and in the face of the peaceful life I’m building, I must acknowledge: (1) That under Stalin I wouldn’t have wasted my youth in the gulag or ended up with a bullet in the back of my head. (2) That in the McCarthy era I wouldn’t have lost my job or had to pump gas at a gas station. (3) That under Hitler, however, I would have been one of those who chose the path of exile, and that under Franco I wouldn’t have composed sonnets to the caudillo or the Holy Virgin like so many lifelong democrats. One thing is as true as the other. My bravery has its limits, certainly, but so does what I’m willing to swallow. Everything that begins as comedy ends as tragicomedy.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Hay momentos para recitar poesías y hay momentos para boxear.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“Which is to say, boys, that I saw our struggles and dreams all tangled up in the same failure, and that failure was called joy.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“The demented strutting of a dumb bird in the moonlight.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“A person could be immensely happy reading only him or the writers he loved. But that would be too easy.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“One of the inconveniences of stealing books—especially for a novice like myself—is that sometimes you have to take what you can get.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


“I didn't hit her, man, what happened was that Maria was obsessed with the Marquis de Sade and wanted to try the spanking thing," said Luscious Skin.
"That's very Maria," said Pancho. "She takes her reading seriously.”
― Roberto Bolaño, quote from The Savage Detectives


About the author

Roberto Bolaño
Born place: in Santiago, Chile
Born date April 28, 1953
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