This roving, kaleidoscopic novel tells the story of the Visceral Realists, a gang of young poets in 1970s Mexico City.  They exist somewhere in the bohemian tradition, disrupting readings and workshops, drinking and philosophizing in hovels and parents' houses.  Bolano captures the energy of youth and young writers, but his perspectives - the diary of their newest recruit, latter day interviews with former poets and acquaintances - give the book an atmosphere of melancholy and make it a serious rumination on the ephemeral power of art and youth.