- Reality Subtext: the story is about poets, but there is hardly any poem in it. Bolaño was a poet that eventually had to give up on it and become a novelist instead. The story is also loosely based on reality, Bolaño and Papasquiaro (see Write Who You Know below) founded the infrarrealistas after being thrown out of the surrealists by André Breton. The group eventually broke and most of its poets remain obscure to this day, like the visceral realists. The story also references certain important events in the history of Latin America, such as the Tlatelolco Shooting of 1968 in Mexico and the crisis with Salvador Allende in Chile.
- Write What You Know: see Reality Subtext above.
- Write Who You Know: every single character is based on a real poet or writer Bolaño knew. Some are well-know, such as Ulises Lima being based on obscure Real Life Mad Artist Mario Santiago Papasquiaro, but others are more open.
Trivia / The Savage Detectives