Roberto Bolaño’s Amulet explores the writing of history as an attempt to construct a narrative from a multitude of unreliable and conflicting sources. As a result, any attempt at historiography is also plagued by the problems of representation found in literature. More particularly, not unlike detective fiction, history is concerned with identifying the inspirations and actions of its players and with revealing the truth about an episode or series of episodes, using historical information, all of which may or may not be reliable. By examining the relationship between the historical and the fictional in Amulet this paper will discuss Bolaño’s use of the tropes of metaphysical detective fiction and how they help foreground the difficulties posed by historical facts by reinventing them in fiction. This will, in turn, highlight the intersection between detective fiction and historiographic metafiction and how by combining these two genres writers can reimagine historical contexts and find new meanings and significance.
Many of Murakami’s novels demonstrate his appropriation of the terminology, imagery and metaphor that are found in hardboiled detective fiction. The question of Haruki Murakami’s use of the tropes from hardboiled detective stories has been discussed by scholars such as , Stretcher (2002) and , who argue that the writer uses these features as a way to organize his narratives and to pay homage to one of his literary heroes, Raymond Chandler. However, these arguments have not adequately addressed the fact that many of Murakami’s novels fit into the definition of the metaphysical detective story, which is “a text that parodies or subverts traditional detective-story conventions” (:2). Using this definition as a guiding principle, this paper addresses the issue of the metaphysical detective features apparent in Murakami’s third novel, A Wild Sheep Chase, and, more specifically, looks at his use of the non-solution and labyrinth as narrative devices. The main argument, then, is that Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase fits in with the metaphysical detective novel and uses the familiar tropes of the labyrinth and the non-solution to highlight our impossible search for meaning.