From The Washington Post:
Not since Gabriel García Márquez, whose masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude, turns 40 this year, has a Latin American redrawn the map of world literature so emphatically as Roberto Bolaño does with The Savage Detectives. The Chilean-born Bolaño moved with his parents to Mexico in 1968, returned to Chile in 1973 only to be caught up in the Pinochet coup d’etat, and settled eventually in Catalonia, Spain. Much of the time before his untimely death in 2003, at the age of 50, he was obsessed with being an outcast. His turn has come to be an icon.
Bolaño not only wrote exactly what and how he pleased; he also viciously attacked figures such as Isabel Allende and Octavio Paz, accusing them of being conformists, more interested in fame than in art. In poems, stories (some of them included in his Last Evenings on Earth), novellas (such as Distant Star and By Night in Chile), two mammoth narratives (one under review here and 2666, scheduled for publication next year in English translation), and an essay collection (called, in Spanish, Entre paréntesis), he cultivated such a flamboyant, stylistically distinctive, counter-establishment voice that it’s no exaggeration to call him a genius.
The Savage Detectives alone should grant him immortality.