The literary prank of the pandemic
One of the most interesting bookstores in the Hispanic community in the United States gave us a heart attack when they announced that they had become a travel agency.
The Wild Detectives bookstore is located in Dallas, Texas, and is named after Roberto Bolaño's novel "The Wild Detectives. The Spaniards Javier García del Moral and Paco Vique founded it in 2014. It became famous for its "Books & Booze" policy, or why they had decided to add a bar to their bookstore: because people talk more and move more ideas around drinks than without them.
Part of their policy of encouraging conversation led them to hold hundreds of literary events, concerts and presentations of all kinds, but also to change the usual dynamics of bookstores. For example, if you wanted a book that they didn't have in their catalogue, they would order it and instead of sending it to your house, they would make you go to the bookstore and buy you a drink. With the invitation, some conversation would blossom.
The pandemic put a stop to that commendable dynamic - and to the dreams of this writer to go to the bookstore and have a few beers - and forced them to rethink their business model, as has happened with the artistic and cultural community across the globe.
And they announced, against all odds, contrary to what common sense would indicate, that in the midst of the pandemic, with all the borders closed and the airlines asking their governments for extraordinary loans or declaring bankruptcy, The Wild Detectives announced that it had become a travel agency.
“Dear friends, we are sorry to announce that under the current circumstances, The Wild Detectives bookstore is no longer. Starting today, we are shifting our business model to a travel agency. This may come as a shock to you, but we keep hearing that everybody wishes to travel now. We acted quick and we are already offering some great deals to foreign and local destinations, just check our bio and get ready to travel!”
Go Book A Trip is the page through which they began to move and through which they opened a window for The Wild Detectives to resist this time of physical distancing, having been designed for the opposite, while offering their customers the possibility of knowing dozens of destinations by the hand of guides like Graham Greene, Valeria Luiselli, Orhan Pamuk, Juan Gabriel Vazquez and Roberto Bolaño himself.
And while the beers are back at the bar among friends, let them be with books.