Mexicans Lost in the Labyrinth of Mexico City

Bolaño burst onto the American literary scene in 2007—four years after his death—with The Savage Detectives. The long novel is divided into three sections: I) Mexicans Lost in Mexico (1975), II) The Savage Detectives (1976-1996), and III) The Sonora Desert (1976).

I started working on this post about locations in The Savage Detectives four years ago. I plotted some of the maps out shortly after I had mapped out some of the Mexico City locations in 2666. In our 2009 group read of 2666, we also created a map of most of the locations mentioned in all five sections of that novel. In the time since then, Gabe Habash has published a wonderful map of the road trip that takes place in third section of The Savage Detectives.

Many people read the fairly short first section of the novel, which is narrated by Juan Garcia Madero and hopscotches around the tangle of streets in Mexico City, and loved it, but were often put off by the second lengthy section of interviews. Some called it a slog and didn’t see how that second section tied in with the rest of the book.

I’m also interested in that first section (all the sections, really) and so I’m going to focus on the geography of Mexico City described in the novel’s opening 120 pages. Let me also start with the caveats that I have not been to Mexico City, I do not speak Spanish, and that in fact, the geography of the book is one of the hooks for me “into” the book. Imagining the passage of people through spaces helps me see the story differently than I otherwise might.

At one point, Juan Garcia Madero is inside the Fonts’ walled estate and he is so immersed in that environment that he can’t believe “Mexico City is really out there.” That’s how I feel. I’m so immersed in my own little world that I forget that I’m actually surrounded by a vibrant city, state, country, and continent.

I also realize that Bolaño is describing a Mexico City of 38 years ago and that many of the places he’s describing have vanished or changed, and are not visible in Google Street View, but the general layout of the streets has not changed. And it seems that Bolaño derives great pleasure from mentally re-walking the streets of his youth, describing elaborate routes and recalling exact street names. I hope someone with more knowledge than I will leave a comment explaining where I have erred and what I have missed.

The page numbers below correspond to the 2012 Picador UK edition of the novel.

SECTION I: Mexicans Lost in Mexico

p. 6 – Madero, Lima, and Belano take a pesero to Reforma, from there they walk to a bar on Calle Bucareli. Reforma is a huge avenue in DF. Here’s a look at the intersection of Reforma and Bucareli:

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That yellow statue is in front of a skyscraper called the Torre del Caballito.

Could this be the bar they visit?

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Probably not (see below).

p. 7—We learn that Madero lives in Colonia Lindavista {Lindavista is located in the borough of Gustavo A. Madero}; he goes back to the bar on Bucareli.

[Note that Insurgentes runs right through the neighborhood. It is the main artery of traffic here.]


p.8—After a brief mention of the sewers of Chapultepec, Madero is back in the bar on Bucareli. We learn that the bar is called Encrucijada Veracruzana.

This guy claims to have taken photos of many of the real places in The Savage Detectives, including Encrucijada Veracruzana (which roughly translates to “Crossroads of Veracruz”; later on we find out that Rosario, the waitress, is from Veracruz).


This “Cantina Bar Bucareli” still exists at 66 Calle Bucareli.

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p. 10—Madero takes the UNAM bus and wanders around “downtown” where he stops at a bookstore called   “Librería del Sótano.” He then crosses Juarez and eats his lunch in the Alameda.

“Downtown” is essentially “Centro”, or the area around the historic city center – the Zocalo. The Alameda park Madero visits is the western border of “downtown.”


Júarez is the street on the southern border of the Alameda, implying that the bookstore is right there on Júarez or very nearby. And, in fact, if you waltz down Júarez, you’ll see the bookstore, called “Librerías del Sótano,” is still there:

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Here is a park bench in the Alameda:

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Madero then spent the evening on Calle Corazón (which is one block over from where Madero lives in Colonia Lindavista). I think this is a fictional street name, but Madero says he watches a soccer game being played there and there is one soccer pitch right in the middle of Lindavista, bordering Calle Lima. I’m going to consider that a nod to Ulises Lima. Or vice-versa.


pp. 12-13—Madero goes to Café Quito on Bucareli, which is a little past the Encrucijada. The real-life Cafe Quito, confirmed by Bolaño’s translator, is a place called Cafe La Habana.

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Maria Font’s house is in Colonia Condesa; Catalina O’Hara’s house in Colonia Coyoacán.

Colonia Condesa is right next to Chapultepec.


And Coyoacán, the famous artist’s district once home to Frida Kahlo, is farther south, down near UNAM.

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p. 18—Ulises Lima lives in a room on a rooftop on Calle Anahuac, near Insurgentes.

Here is Anahuác, just off Insurgentes. Could that be Lima’s place up there?

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p. 19—they steal books from the Libreria Francesca in the (upscale) Zona Rosa and from the Libreria Baudelaire on Calle General Martinez, near Calle Horacio in Polanco.

“Libreria Francesca” just means “French bookstore” and in fact there is a real French-language bookstore in Zona Rosa, also called Temps de Lire. The Librería Baudelaire is actually a bookstore in Santiago, Chile, that Bolaño here seems to have superimposed onto Mexico City.  The Avenida Horacio (not Calle) in Polanco (just north of Chapultepec) doesn’t appear to have a “Calle General Martinez” anywhere near there. However, Polanco is interesting in that it has streets named after Horace (Horacio), Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Archimedes, Hesiod, Ibsen, Racine, Homer, Pascal, Galileo, Cicero, Pliny, Sophocles, Seneca, Moliere, Jules Verne, Oliver Goldsmith, Edgar Allan Poe, Lafontaine, Anatole France, Dumas, Tennyson, Emerson, Schiller, Isaac Newton, Hegel, and Euler among others. No doubt this appealed to Bolaño.

p. 22—the Fonts live in Colonia Condesa on Calle Colima. Colima sort of dead-ends on the eastern edge of Condesa, so I’m assuming it’s that end of Colima that houses the Font estate. In that last block of Colima is now the Museo Histórico Judío y del Holocausto.

p. 26—Pancho and Madero meet at El Loto de Quintana Roo, a Chinese café (where they drink coffee) near the Glorieta de Insurgentes. “El loto” means the lotus and Quintana Roo is a state in the Yucatan. It’s a funny image. The Glorieta de Insurgentes is a large monument in a traffic circle on Insurgentes.


Note that just off Avenida Chapultepec is Calle Amberes. Amberes (or Antwerp) is the title of Bolaño’s short, seminal work of experimental fiction. Pancho and Juan then head for the Fonts’ home in Colonia Condesa (p. 27).

p. 29—We learn that Laura Damian died when she was struck by a car in Tlalpan, which is on the southern edge of D.F., south of Coyoacán.


pp. 32-33—Maria meets Garcia Madero at Café Quito. They leave and walk along Bucareli toward Reforma, then cross Reforma and head up Avenida Guerrero. Maria says “this is where the whores are.” Basically, they are just walking north on Bucareli as it turns into Guerrero north of Reforma. They continue north past Violeta and Magnolia, “Someday I’m going to live here,” she says. [Calle Magnolia is called “J. Meneses” west of Guerrero.]


p. 34—We learn the dance school Maria attends is on Donceles. Donceles is just  a  couple of blocks off the Zocalo and is indeed in the arts district where there are several theaters, museums, and dance companies.

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They turn left on Magnolia, on to Avenida Jesus Garcia, then walk south to Heroes Revolucionarios Ferrocarrileros, where they go into a coffee shop. (Magnolia changes into J. Meneses, and then into Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. In this section of the novel, Madero makes a “banal remark” about Sor Juana to Maria and she judges him harshly—he avoids the topic of Sor Juana after that. {You can also see here how frequently streets change names. Stay on one DF street long enough and it is certain to be called something else. Bolaño says “Every hundred feet the world changes.”}) I’m not sure who “J. Meneses” commemorates. Perhaps this Chilean priest?


If they go east on Heroes/Mina, all the way back to Guerrero, they will have just made a circle.

p. 37—Lupe tells the story of how she got beat up and sat down on a bench in the Plaza San Fernando to die. You can see “Calle San Fernando” and the adjacent plaza in the picture just above (in the lower right corner). The park benches there have a unique look.

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When Lupe’s son died, she was living in a building on Paraguay, near the Plaza de Santa Catarina. After that story, there is a lot of back and forth to the Fonts’ house.

p. 58—Pancho and Garcia Madero leave the Fonts’ House in Colonia Condesa. They walk through the Parque España, down Parras, through the Parque San Martin, and along Teotihuacan. They get to Insurgentes, then head down Manzanillo, turn onto Aguascalientes, then south again onto Medellin, walking until they reach Calle Tepeji, stopping in front of a five-story building. This is a fairly easy route to follow on Google Maps and gives us a better idea of where exactly on Colima the Fonts live: likely in the block between Guadalajara and Sonora. Here is the route, starting on Colima, down through the two parks, across Insurgentes and south on Manzanillo.


And here’s the rest of the route: south on Manzanillo, to Aguascalientes, to Medellin, to Tepeji.


Somewhere on that block of Tepeji they go into a five story building. All of the buildings on this block are two-story, except for the one right at the corner of Medellin, which is blue and five stories tall.

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p. 59—From the roof of that building they can see the lots of the Parque de las Americas, the Medical Center, the Children’s Hospital, and the General Hospital. Although, I don’t think there is any park called that per se – the park here is Jardin Ramon Lopez Velarde.



p. 65—Madero goes to the bus stop on Insurgentes, but then decides to go back to the Fonts’ house.

Here is the nearest bus stop on Insurgentes.

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Madero calls Maria Font and tells her he is near her house, at Plaza Popocatépetl. (Note here that Avenida Sonora connects the Plaza and Colima, Font’s street. Section III of The Savage Detectives is called “The Sonora Desert.”)


Madero waits in the Plaza for two hours, writing in his journal and reading a book of poems, before venturing back over to the Fonts’ estate.

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p. 75 – Madero and Maria go to a lecture by Octavio Paz. They meet Ernesto at the lecture, at the Capilla Alfonsina. Afterward they go to a restaurant on Calle Palma called La Palma de la Vida.

Some of the following pages mention places we’ve already visited: Reforma, Cafe Quito, Bucareli, etc.

p. 79 – Madero sleeps with Rosario “at her place, a crummy tenement building way out in the Colonia Merced Balbuena, near the Calzada de la Viga.”  Here is just such a building:

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pp. 81-86 – Madero leaves the Encrucijada Veracruzana (on Bucareli) and “turns the corner” at the Reloj Chino and walks toward La Ciudadela, looking for a cafe where he can write. He crosses the Jardin Morelos, crosses Niños Heroes (also called Calle de Balderos), Plaza Pacheco, and is about to turn up Revillagigedo toward the Alameda when Quim Font and Lupe surprise him. They turn right on Victoria to Dolores and go into a Chinese cafe. They leave the cafe at one in the morning and go looking for a hotel. They finally find one on Rio de la Loza called Media Luna and leave Lupe there. Quim and Garcia Madero keep walking toward Reforma and Quim takes a taxi at Niños Heroes.


p. 90 – Madero looks for Belano and Ulises Lima in bookstores, starting with “Plinio el Joven, on Venustiano Carranza” then the “Lizardi bookstore on Donceles” and the “antiquarian bookstore Rebecca Nodier” at Mesones and Pino Suarez.

Calle de Venustiano Carranza is a shopping district just south of the Zocalo. I didn’t see any bookstores on the street now, or anything called Pliny the Younger, but there is a restaurant called Bolaño’s.

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Calle Donceles is a used bookstore mecca. There are at least a dozen used bookstores in this one street.

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There are no bookstores there any longer, but here is the intersection of Mesones and Pino Suarez:

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pp. 91-92 – Madero again visits a bunch of bookstores: Librería del Sotano on Juarez, Librería Mexicana on Calle Aranda, near the Plaza de San Juan, the Librería Pacifico at Bolivar and 16 de Septiembre, the Viejo Horacio on Correo Mayor, Librería Orozco on Reforma between Oxford and Praga, Librería Milton at Milton and Darwin, and the Librería El Mundo on Rio Nazas.

We’ve already visited the Librería del Sotano on Juarez (above), but the Librería Mexicana on Calle Aranda, near the Plaza de San Juan, is long gone, replaced by a district of chicken restaurants.

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The Librería Pacifico at Bolivar and 16 de Septiembre is also either gone or fictional, but on that same block (and coincidentally, somewhat closer to Avenida Francisco Madero) is the American Bookstore.

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The Viejo Horacio on Correo Mayor is also in the general vicinity of these other locations, Centro. No Old Horace bookstore there, though. The Librería Orozco on Reforma between Oxford and Praga, if it existed, would be here:

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The Librería Milton at Milton and Darwin is near Polanco, on this block:

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Finally, the Librería El Mundo on Rio Nazas is also non-existent, but, for effect, here is a bookstand on Rio Nazas:

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Rio Nazas seems to be a fairly upscale street, home to the French Embassy, a yoga studio, cafes, etc.

For more on bookstores in Mexico City, there is a good (English-language) walking tour here.

pp. 97-99 – Madero goes to Cafe Quito, walks to Montes, where Jacinto lives, then wanders around after calling the Fonts’, before finding himself in a “bleak stretch of Colonia Anahuac, surrounded by dying trees and peeling walls.” He goes into a place on Calle Texcoco and drinks coffee then calls Angelica Font again. Later he walks back to Sullivan and as he crosses Reforma, near the statue of Cuauhtemoc, he runs into Belano and Ulises Lima.

There are several mentions of “Calle Montes” in the book, but I couldn’t find it. Maybe that street has been renamed? We do know that it’s near the Monument to the Revolution, which is between Bucareli (A) and Anahuac (C).

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There is still plenty of peeling paint and dying trees in Anahuac.

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Here is Madero’s route back from Anahuac to Reforma, where he runs into Belano and Lima (and then wakes up in Rosario’s room out in Merced Balbuena).

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p. 106 – Madero and Rosario walk to a bathhouse on Calle Lorenzo Boturini called “El Amanuense Azteca.”

You can see that Lorenzo Boturini is the name of a neighborhood directly south of Merced Balbuena, and Lorenzo Boturini is the name of the main avenue in that neighborhood.


There is no bath house there, but there is a gym on Lorenzo Boturini:

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p. 109 – Garcia Madero wanders around downtown, stopping by the Zócalo and ending up at a café on Madero called Nueva Síbaris (new Sybaris implies something erotic there and indeed Pancho recounts his night of whoring for Madero there).

The Zócalo, where Madero’s “pores opened up at last”:

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The borough is called “Gustavo Madero,” but the avenue just off the Zócalo is “Francisco I. Madero.” On this avenue is a Gandhi Books store (there are several in DF). It was in Gandhi Books in 1976 where Bolaño stood up and first read the Infrarealist Manifesto.

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I’m fairly certain that the Gandhi Books Bolaño stole from and read at is this one on Juarez, near Librerías del Sótano and the Alameda.

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[photos from CCCB touring dossier]


p. 110 – Madero and Pancho catch a taxi at Reforma and Juárez (Francisco I. Madero turns into Juárez) and head back toward the Fonts’ house on Calle Colima in Colonia Condesa.


[click the image]

p. 116 – Madero is at the Fonts’ house and hears sounds of a party from one of the houses on Calle Guadalajara or Avenida Sonora. This allows us, finally, to pinpoint the exact block of the Fonts’ house. It seems safe to assume here that it is on Calle Colima between Guadalajara and Sonora.


Most of the buildings on that block are now large medical offices or multi-story apartment buildings, but there are a couple of single-family homes left on the south side of the street.

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p. 120 – a brief mention of Calle Cuernavaca, which Colima dead-ends into in the west.

p. 124 – Ulises Lima, Belano, Garcia Madero, and Lupe make their escape from Calle Colima in Quim’s Impala. In “less than two seconds we were on Avenida Oaxaca, heading north out of the city.”



Many of the same locations show up in Part II of the novel. I’m working on mapping those, but will have to break the locations into five or six posts.

Week 10: Locations

by Sara Corona Goldstein

Pachuca — Guadalupe Elena Blanco had moved to Santa Teresa from here less than a week before she was killed in July 1996. (p. 513)

Secondary School 30, in Colonia Felix Gomez— Marina Rebolledo was found here in August 1996. (p. 516)

Colonia Plata Angelica (Jessica) Nevares,  a dancer, lived here. (p. 516)

Culiacan, Sinaloa — Angelica Nevares was from here before moving to Santa Teresa five years prior. (p. 516)

Morelos — Perla Beatriz Ochoterena was from here before she lived in Santa Teresa. (p. 517)

Colonia Mancera — Adela Garci­a Ceballos lived here with her eventual killer, Ruben Bustos. (p. 518)

Pueblo Azul — Lola and Janet Reynolds are found dead near here at the end of September 1996. (p. 519)

Rillito, Arizona — the Reynolds sisters were from here. (p. 520)

Nayarit — Maria Sandra Rosales Zepeda was from here. (p. 522)

Podesto ravine— Luisa Cardona Pardo’s body is found here in November 1996. (p. 524)

Colonia La Preciada – Luisa Cardona Pardo lived here. (p. 525)

Podesta ravine —Lalo Cura and Ordonez discover another body here. (p. 525)

Colonia El Cerezal — Estefana Rivas and Hermania Noreiga, half-sisters, are found in a house here in December 1996. (p. 526)

Yuma, Arizona — Ronald Luis Luque’s father tells Juan de Dios Marti­nez that this son planned to go here. (p. 530)

Paris — Elvira Campos dreams of running away to Paris and starting over. (p. 535)

Colonia Del Valle — Sergio Gonzalez and Marcario Lopez Santos talk to General Humberto Paredes at his home here about snuff films. (p. 536)

Buenos Aires — an Argentinian correspondent for a newspaper from here spends three days in Santa Teresa. He visits El Rey del Taco and watches a snuff film in a house in northern Santa Teresa. (p. 540)

Los Angeles, California — the Argentinian correspondent interviews actors here for his article on Santa Teresa and the snuff film industry. (p. 541)

Buenos Aires — Mike and Clarissa Epstein invent the term “snuff film” here in 1972 while filming a movie here. (p. 541)

Tigre, Argentina — the Epsteins and their crew shoot part of their film here. (p. 542)

A ranch in the pampa, Argentina — Estela’s ranch is here, where the Epsteins and JT and their crew spend time shooting their movie. (p. 542)

El Rosario, Santa Teresa — Guadalupe Guzman Preito is found here in March 1997. (p. 545)

Cerro Estrella — Jazmin Torres Dorantes is found here in March 1997. (p. 546)

San Miguel de Horcasitas —Carolina Fernandez Fuentes’ parents live here. (p. 547)

El Pajonal— three students and a history professor from UCLA find the skeleton of a girl here at the end of March 1997. (p. 547)

Guanajuato —the Gonzaez Resendiz family, who believe a body found in El Chile to be that of their daughter, Irene, are from here. (p. 549)

Hermosillo— Juan Arredondo, the second medical examiner in Santa Teresa, is from here. (p. 550)

Medellin, Colombia —Arrendondo traveled here once to represent the Institute of Forensic Anatomy and the University of Santa Teresa at a symposium held here once, and came back a changed man. (p. 550)

Irapuato, Irapuato — Rigoberto Fri­as, the third medical examiner, is from here. (p. 550)

Colonia Serafin Garabito — Frias lives here. (p. 550)

Villaviciosa — the entire line of Maria Expositos lived here. (p. 555)

Colonia Mexico— Rafael Exposito stays here briefly with a whore he meets before killing Celestino Arraya in 1934. (p. 557)

Ensenada — the secretary for Santa Teresa’s Department of Sex Crimes moved here, leaving only Yolanda Palacio working there. (p. 563)

Week 9: Locations

by Sara Corona Goldstein

Cerro Estrella — another woman is found here at the end of September 1995. (p. 466)

Colonia Lomas del Toro — Estrella Ruiz Sandoval’s older sister lives here. (p. 467)

Casas Negras — Rosa Maria Medina’s father found the stone outside their house here. (p. 468)

Downtown Santa Teresa — Klaus Haas’s computer store is here. (p. 474)

Colonia Veracruz — Juan Pablo Castalan, the boy who works at Haas’s computer store, lives here. (p. 475)

Tijuana — Haas owns another computer store here. (p. 476)

Denver, Colorado — Haas lived here briefly, according to Juan Pablo – though he didn’t, really. (p. 476)

Colonia El Cerezal — Haas lives here. (p. 477)

Tampa, Florida — Haas lived here and was accused of attempted rape by Laurie Enciso, among other things. (p. 477)

Bielefeld, West Germany — Haas was born here in 1955. (p. 478)

Colonia Centena — Haas owns another computer store here. (p. 478)

El Alamillo — the rancher in one of the four private cells in the Santa Teresa jail is from here. (p. 481)

Cananea — Enrique Hernandez was born here. (p. 491)

San Blas, in northern Sinaloa — four gunmen show up at a warehouse here and kill two watchmen, then steal the shipment of coke they were guarding. (p. 492)

A road between La Discordia and El Sasabe — one of Campuzano’s trucks was attacked and stolen here. (p. 492)

El Ojito ravine — Adela Garcia Estrada is found here in November 1995. (p. 493)

Colonia La Vistosa — another dead woman is found here on November 20, 1995. (p. 493)

Colonia Sur — Beatriz Concepcion Roldan is from here. (p. 494)

Colonia Morelos, near Morelos Preparatory School — the body of Michelle Requjo is found here in December 1995. (p. 495)

Colonia Las Flores – Rosa López Larios, found in December 1995, was from here. (p. 497)

Colonia Álamos – Ema Contreras, also found in December 1995, was from here. (p. 498)

El Obelisco – a settlement just outside Santa Teresa, sometimes called El Moridero, near where two bodies were found in early 1996. (p. 502)

Cerro Estrella — another girl is found here in March 1996. (p. 503)

Colonia Carranza — Sagrario Baeza Lopez, whose work ID showed up on the body of a victim in the first week of April 1996, lives here. (p. 507)

Guadalajara — Rene Alvarado was from here. (p. 508)

Colonia Madero-Norte — Paula Sánchez Garcias, a dancer at El Pelicano, lived here. (p. 509)

Colonia San Bartolome — Ana Hernandez Cecilio, mistakenly pronounced dead, lived here. (p. 510)

Colonia Maytorena — Arturo Olivarez lived here. (p. 510)

Week 8: Locations

by Sara Corona Goldstein

Huntsville, Arizona— Lucy Anne Sander lived here. (p. 406)

Mississippi — Lucy Anne Sander was born here. (p. 406)

Calle Verdejo, in Colonia Centro-Norte — the American consulate is here. (p. 407)

Diego Riveras School, in Colonia Lomas del Toro— Monica Duran Reyes was kidnapped from here. Rebecca Fernandez de Hoyos is found in this Colonia, also. (p. 412)

Oaxaca — Rebecca Fernandez de Hoyos is from here. (p. 412)

Internal Affairs on Avenida Madero-Norte — a whorehouse where Harry Magaña befriends Demetrio Águila. (p. 415)

Calle Luciarnaga in Colonia Ruben Dari­o — Águila has a house here, where he lets Magaña stay. (p. 415)

Churcarit — Magaña discovers a love letter written to Miguel Montes by a girl from here. Magaña and Águilar agree that this is Montes’ hometown. (p. 422)

Calle Alondra, in Colonia Podesta — in November 1994 a woman’s body is found here in on the second floor of a building under construction. (p. 424)

Profesor Emilio Cervantes, in Colonia Lomas del Toro – Silvana Pérez Arjona attended school here until she had to drop out. (p. 426)

Nácori Grande — Florita Almada (La Santa) was born here. (p. 429)

Villa Pesqueria — Florita Almada and her family move here. She marries a livestock dealer. (p. 429)

Hermosillo — Reinaldo’s TV show, on which Florita Almada appears, has its station here. (p. 434)

Guaymas — the ventriloquist on Reinaldo’s TV show is from here. (p. 434)

Churcarit — Harry Magaña travels here, meets María del Mar Enciso Montes, and visits Miguel Montes’ house. (p. 437)

Tijuana — Magana travels here, calls his friend from the LAPD, and meets Raul Rami­rez Cerezo and Chucho. (p. 440)

Calle Santa Catarina, in Colonia Carranza — Magaña goes to Elsa Fuentes’ house here. (p. 445)

Toconilco, Durango — Elsa Fuentes’ mother lives here. (p. 447)

Calle Portal de San Pablo — Magaña goes here, to Francisco’s house. (p. 448)

Querétaro — Paula Garcia Zapatero is from here. (p. 454)

Sage, California — Abe (Conan) Mitchell, the American consul, spends time in his cabin here. (p. 455)

Escondido, California— Mitchell’s wife stays here with her sister while he is in Sage. (p. 455)

Michoacan — Monica Posades and her family are from here. (p. 461)

Vasconelos Preparatory School, in Colonia Reforma — Marisa Hernández Silva attended school here. (p. 463)

Week 7: Locations

by Sara Corona Goldstein

pp. 353-404

Colonia Las Flores —the body of Esperanza Gamaz Saldana is found here in January 1993; the first of the victims to be counted. (p. 353)

Colonia Mancera — Luisa Celina Vazquez is killed here at the end of January, 1993. (p. 354)

Calle El Arroyo (between Colinia Cuidad Nueva and Colonia Morelos)— in April 1993, a knife sharpener discovers a badly beaten woman and calls the police. She dies before they can help her. (p.356)

A dump between Colonia Las Flores and General Sepulveda industrial park — another woman’s body is found in May 1993. (p. 358)

Calle Jazmi­n in Colonia Carranza — Guadalupe Rojas is killed outside her apartment here in May 1993. (p. 359)

Cerro Estrella —the body of the last dead woman in May 1993 is found here. Police Chief Pedro Negrete visits the site alone. (p. 360)

The church of San Rafael on Calle Patriotas Mexicanos – the church desecrator appears here at the end of May 1993. (p. 361)

The church of San Tadeo in Colonia Kino – the church desecrator appears again here. (p. 365)

The church of Santa Catalina in Colonia Lomas del Toro – another church desecration happens here. (p. 367)

The church of Nuestro Señor Jesucristo in Colonia Reforma – the Penitent goes beserk here a few days later. (p. 368)

El Chile (illegal dump)—the body of Emilia Mena Mena is found here. (p. 372)

Ciudad Guzman —Emilia Mena Mena’s boyfriend was suspected of fleeing to his uncle’s house here. (p. 373)

Morelos Preparatory School — the janitor finds another woman’s body here. (p. 373)

Colonia Maytorena — Margarita López Santos’ body is found here in June 1993 after being missing for 40 days. (p. 375).

Mexico City —Sergio Gonzales writes for La Razón, a newspaper based here. (p. 376)

Colonia Michoacan — Elvira Campos lives here. (p. 383)

Villaviciosa — Pedro Negrete travels here to hire someone (Lalo Cura) for his friend Pedro Rengifo. (p. 384)

Colonia Lindavista — another dead woman is found in September 1993. (p. 389)

Lomas de Poniente — Feliciano José Sandoval, alleged killer of Gabriela Morón, was from here. (p. 390)

Arsenio Farrell industrial park – Marta Navales Gómez was found here in October 1993. (p. 391)

Francisco I School, near Colonia Álamos – a Salvadorean immigrant finds the body of Andrea Pacheco Martínez here in November. (p. 392)

Colonia Morelos – Ernesto Luis Castillo Jiménez is found wandering here after he murders his mother on December 20, 1993. (p. 393)

Colonia Madero – while Pedro Rengifo’s wife is visiting a friend here, Lalo Cura is involved in a shoot-out with two gunmen. (p. 394)

El Ajo, a bar off the Nogales highway—the first dead woman of 1994 is found here. (p. 399)

Paquita Avendaño in Hermosilla — Nati Gordillo and Rubí Campos are locked up here after being accused of the muder of Leticia Contreras Zamudio. (p. 401)

Colonia Veracruz – Penélope Méndez Becerra’s family lived here. (p. 403)

Week 6: Locations

by Sara Corona Goldstein

Harlem, New York —Fate meets the Mohammedan Brotherhood here during a pro-Palestine demonstration just after 9/11. (p. 290)

Bronx, New York— Fate has an appointment with Khalil of the Mohammedan Brotherhood. (p. 292)

Mexico City —Guadalupe Roncal works for a newspaper here. (p. 296)

New York University —Fate went to college here. (p. 300)

Sioux City, Iowa —Chuck Campbell went to college here. (p. 300)

Arena del Norte boxing stadium — Fate goes here once in the morning, then again for the fight in the evening. He meets Rosa Amalfitano here. (p. 303, 305)

Veracruz, Mexico — Rosa Méndez asks if Fate has ever been here; “something bad must have happened” to her here. (p. 310)

El Rey del Taco – Fate, Rosa, Rosita, Chucho, Cruz, and Corona eat here after the fight. (p. 312)

Hermosillo—Garcia, one of Merolino’s sparring partners, spent eight years in prison here for killing his sister. (p. 319)

Charly Cruz’s house— Fate & co. end up here the night of the fight. (p. 319)

Fire, Walk With Me— a 24-hour cybercafe in Santa Teresa to which the clerk at Fate’s motel gives him directions. Fate does not go. (p. 339)

Santa Teresa prison — Rosa Amalfitano and Fate go with Guadalupe Roncal here to interview the chief suspect for the murders. (p. 345)

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Week 5: Locations

by Sara Corona Goldstein

Paradise City, Chicago— Jimmy Lowell, the chief boxing correspondent for Black Dawn dies here. (p. 235)

New York City — Qunicy Williams (Oscar Fate) lives here. (p. 239)

Detriot —Fate travels here to interview Barry Seaman. (p. 239)

Jackson Tree, Michigan — two passengers on Fate’s flight to Detroit tell a story about a man named Bobby who capsized his fishing boat here, nearly freezing to death. (p. 240)

Athens, South Carolina — the bartender at Pete’s Bar in Detroit fought his last fight here. (p. 242)

Rebecca Holmes Park, Detroit — Fate and Seaman walk through his park before going into the church where Seaman gives his sermon. (p. 245)

Los Angeles, California — Seaman spent his childhood here. (p. 246)

Algeria; China — Seaman traveled here in his youth with the Black Panthers. (p. 247)

Santa Cruz, California – Marius Newell was killed here. (p. 247)

Folsom, Soledad, and Walla-Walla prisons – Seaman spent time here, trading cigarettes. (p. 249)

New York – Seaman goes here to get his cooking/history book published. (p. 251)

Route 80, between Des Moines and Lincoln – Seaman talks about seeing stars here. (p. 252)

Santa Teresa – an American disappears here, as reported by Dick Medina while Fate sleeps. (p. 258)

Brooklyn – Antonio Ulises Jones, the last Communist in Brooklyn, lives here. He is Fate’s first published story for Black Dawn. (p. 258)

Woodward Avenue, Detriot – Fate buys The Slave Trade by Hugh Thomas here; drinks some tea. (p. 261)

Tucson, Arizona — Fate flies here on his way to Santa Teresa to cover Count Pickett’s boxing match. (p. 263)

The Southwest coast of Africa; Corisco; Elmina (a Portuguese fort on the Gold Coast) — all places mentioned on page 361 of The Slave Trade by Hugh Thomas. (p. 263)

Cochise’s Corner—the restaurant where Fate eats on his way to the Mexican border. It is either three hours or an hour and a half away from Santa Teresa. (p. 264)

Patagonia; Adobe – towns Fate passes through on his way to the Mexican border. (pp. 270, 271)

Las Brisas – the motel in the northern part of Santa Teresa where Fate stays. (p. 272)

Arena del Norte boxing stadium – the stadium where the fight between Count Pickett and El Merolino Fernández will be held. (p. 272)

Hotel Sonora Resort – the hotel where most of the reporters are staying in Santa Teresa. (p. 273)

A ranch on the egde of Santa Teresa – El Merolino set up camp here before the fight. (p. 274)

Oceanside, California – Omar Abdul is from here. (p. 275)

Mexico City – Charly Cruz tells a story about Robert Rodriguez, who makes his first movie while living here in a whorehouse with El Perno, a pimp. (p. 280)

A ranch outside Las Vegas – Count Pickett is probably staying here before the fight. (p. 283)

Los Angeles, California – Hércules Carreño fights his last fight here, against Arthur Ashley. Carreño barely makes it to the eighth round and Ashley earns his nickmname, The Sadist. (p. 288)

Chicago – Chuck Campbell works for Sport Magazine here. (p. 289)

Week 4: Locations

by Sara Corona Goldstein

Mondragon, San Sebastian, Spain — Lola’s favorite poet is institutionalized in an insane asylum here. She lives here for a while. (p. 165)

Barcelona — Amalfitano and Lola live here with their daughter, Rosa. Lola says that she met and slept with the poet at a party he and the gay philosopher have here. (p. 165, 167)

Pamplona, Zaragoza — places Lola and Imma stay on their way to San Sebastian. (p. 166-167)

Mondragon cemetary —Lola is driven here by Larrazabal who she sleeps with and later lives with; she also lives here a short time. (p. 175)

Bayonne, Landes, Pau, and Lourdes, France — Lola travels to these places during her time in France before settling in Paris. (p. 180).

Paris — Lola has a job and a son (Benoit) here. (p. 181)

Sant Cugat, Barcelona — Amalfitano is living here with Rosa when Lola visits them for the last time. (p. 183)

Buenos Aires — Duchamp comes up with the idea of hanging a geometry book on a clothesline outside while staying here. (p. 191)

Rianxo, La Coruna — Rafael Dieste, author of Testamento geometrico, is born here in 1899. (p. 195)

Santiago de Compostela — Dieste dies here in 1981. (p. 195)

A merendero, 10 miles outside Santa Teresa —Amalfitano, Rosa, Professor Perez, and her son take a trip here. (p. 199, 204)

Colonia Lindavista, Santa Teresa—Amalfitano’s house is here. (p. 199)

Los Zancudos, outside of Santa Teresa— Marco Antonio Guerra takes Amalfitano here, where they drink Los Suicidas mezcal. (p. 215)

Santiago de Chile — Lonko Kilapán publishes O’Higgins is Araucanian here in 1978. (p. 216)

Week 3: Locations

by Michael Cooler

Deaths in the last section of The Part About The Critics (pages 102 – 159):

No actual “deaths” but references to the murders in Mexico.

p. 137 – “Then Espinoza remembered that the night before, one of the boys had told them the story of the women who were being killed. All he remembered was that the boy had said there were more than two hundred of them and he’d had to repeat it two or three times because neither Espinoza nor Pelletier could believe his ears.”

“From 1993 or 1994 to the present day…And many more women might have been killed. Maybe two hundred and fifty or three hundred.”

This is information that the critics were not aware of. Bolano has presented the critics as fairly insular up to this point, and finally they are getting a glimpse of the world around them. Espinoza reacts to the news by throwing up in a bathroom stall, while an ominous voice soothes Espinoza.  What are we to make of this?  To Espinoza, the voice seems like a comfort, but there is also something sinister in the voice that says “That’s all right, buddy, go ahead and puke.”  Almost as if the next thing this voice might say is, “And then step out of the stall and I’ll cut your throat.”  But Espinoza is still so privileged or fortunate that he does not detect an evil tone in the voice he hears.

p. 151 “As they drank Cuba libres, Rebeca told him that two of the girls who later showed up dead had been kidnapped on their way out of the club. Their bodies were dumped in the desert.” Espinoza gets unknowingly close to death with Rebeca at the dance club.  Here Bolaño further places the aloof character of Espinoza in close proximity to real and dangerous violence. Espinoza and Pelletier have been safe in their upscale hotel, but now Espinoza is brushing cheeks with the death that exists in Santa Teresa (although as a wealthy person he will escape Santa Teresa as Rebeca and the women of the city cannot).

by Sara Corona Goldstein

Berlin — El Cerdo is introduced to Mrs. Bubis here at a “cultural charreada.” (p. 102)

Santa Teresa (near Hermosillo), Mexico — according to El Cerdo, Achimboldi flies here after their night in Mexico City. (p. 104)

Stevenson’ grave in Samoa — Marcel Schwob travels here in 1901 with his manservant, Ting, and nearly dies of pneumonia (the reason Morini cites for not traveling with the other three to Mexico). (p. 106)

Mexico City — Pelletier, Espinoza, and Norton travel here together and spend a night in the hotel where El Cerdo met Archimboldi. (p. 107)

Hermosillo, Mexico — the three critics fly here from Mexico City and drive through Sonora to Santa Teresa. (p. 110)

Hotel Mexico, Santa Teresa, Mexico —the three critics stay here while searching for Archimboldi (p. 111); this is also where they first meet Amalfitano. (p. 114)

Tucson, Arizona — Pelletier and Espinoza drive Norton here for her flight back to London. (p. 135)

A ravine near Montreux, Switzerland — Edwin Johns dies here, accidentally. (p. 150)

Turin, Italy — Norton goes to stay with Morini. (p. 152)

Week 2: Locations

by Sara Corona Goldstein

Week Two (pp. 51-102)

Palermo, Italy — a Serbian critic asserts in a published paper that Archimboldi traveled here and bought a plane ticket to Morocco. (p. 55)

London — at the beginning of 1997, Norton invites both Pelletier and Espinoza to visit her. (p. 57)

Berlin, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Mainz — respectively: an assembly, congress, symposium, and conference, each attended by a different combination of the four critics. (p. 62)

London — Pelletier and Espinoza visit Norton again; they meet Alex Pritchard. (p. 64)

Bologna, Italy — Pelletier, Espinoza, and Morini attend a conference on Archimboldi. They ask his advice about their romantic imbroglio. (p. 71)

Saint George’s Road, London— Pelletier and Espinoza beat a Pakistani cab driver while Norton looks on. (p. 74)

Berlin — while attending a conference here, Pelletier and Espinoza visit their first brothel. (p. 80)

Auguste Demarre Clinic near Montreux, Switzerland— Pelletier, Espinoza, and Morini visit the lunatic asylum and meet with Edwin Johns. (p. 87)

Toulouse, France — during a seminar here, the four critics meet Rodolfo Alatorre. (p. 99)

Mexico City, Mexico — Alatorre’s friend Almendro (aka El Cerdo) receives a call from (a man he claims is) Archimboldi and goes to meet him. (p. 100)

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