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Roberto Bolano's 2666

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Roberto Bolano's 2666

Old 11-03-08, 11:05 PM
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Roberto Bolano's 2666



Some four years after it's Spanish-language publication, the translated version of the nearly 1,000 page 2666 is being released next week in both hard cover and as a three-volume trade paperback set (equally priced). Bolano seems to be often compared to Thomas Pynchon, and while I wouldn't consider myself to be a fan of the latter, any story as large and complex as this one is quite intriguing to me.

The novel is divided into five parts (Bolaño originally imagined it being published as five books) and begins with the adventures and love affairs of a small group of scholars dedicated to the work of Benno von Archimboldi, a reclusive German novelist. They trace the writer to the Mexican border town of Santa Teresa, but there the trail runs dry, and it isn't until the final section that readers learn about Benno and why he went to Santa Teresa. The heart of the novel comes in the three middle parts: in 'The Part About Amalfitano,' a professor from Spain moves to Santa Teresa with his beautiful daughter, Rosa, and begins to hear voices. 'The Part About Fate' concerns Quincy "Fate" Williams, a black American reporter who is sent to Santa Teresa to cover a prizefight and ends up rescuing Rosa from her gun-toting ex-boyfriend. 'The Part About the Crimes' operates on a number of levels: it is a tormented catalogue of women murdered and raped in Santa Teresa [reportedly a fictionalized account involving the abnormally large number of murdered women in Juarez over the past decade or so]; a panorama of the power system that is either covering up for the real criminals with its implausible story that the crimes were all connected to a German national, or too incompetent to find them (or maybe both); and it is a collection of the stories of journalists, cops, murderers, vengeful husbands, prisoners and tourists, among others, presided over by an old woman seer.
Something this sprawling will likely take months to wade through, since I mainly read in bed at night but it all sounds so wildly fascinating that I'm unlikely to be able to pass up a purchase. Reviews have been absolute raves (much like for his previous novel, the Savage Detectives)...
_________________

"Not just the great Spanish-language novel of [this] decade, but one of the cornerstones that define an entire literature."

"To confront the reader with the horror of the contemporary world was Bolano's guiding ambition. He succeeded, to say the least. Upset, shocked, sometimes even sickened, at times one is tempted to shut the book because it's unbearable to read. Don't shut it. Far from being a blood-and-guts thriller meant to entertain, 2666 is a 'visceral realist" portrait of the human condition in the twenty-first century."

"On every page the reader marvels, hypnotized, at the capacity of this baroque writer to encompass all literary genres in a single fascinating, enigmatic story. ... It is a fully realized work by a pure genius at the height of his powers."

"A work of genius: a work of immense lucidity and narrative cunning, written with a unique mixture of creative power and intimate existential desperation, the work of a master whose voice has all the authority and seeming effortlessness that we associate with the great classics of the ages ... It is impossible to read this book without feeling the earth shift beneath one's feet."

_______________

Anyone else interested in this one and plan on picking it up?
Old 11-04-08, 04:19 PM
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I was just reading an article about this book the other day, and it looked like something I'd be very interested in. I'm a big Pynchon fan and, if it's much in the same vein, then count me in!
Old 11-15-08, 10:44 AM
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i've read four or five reviews in the past several days. i plan on wading into this in the near future.
Old 01-09-09, 10:47 AM
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Re: Roberto Bolano's 2666

Nearly picked this up at a used bookstore last night, but was not 100% I wanted to make the commitment. Has anyone read it yet?
Old 01-09-09, 01:42 PM
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Re: Roberto Bolano's 2666

I've just read the first book so far of three (I have the paperback set) but I really, really liked it. Not to get all pluggy, but here's what I said on my blog about it, I picked it as one of my 10 favorite books read last year:

"2666" by Roberto Bolaño (in progress). (2008) -- Technically, this is a cheat, as I'm about 350 pages into this three-volume 900-page monolith. But unless it undergoes a radical deterioration, it's a thrilling ride, which reminds me in turns of some of my favorite writers like Haruki Murakami, Milan Kundera and Borges. Bolaño crafts a tale that starts out as the search for a missing, mysterious German writer, but it winds and catapults into endless fascinating digressions. Bolaño plays words beautifully, spinning out into gorgeous riffs and tirades. There's a deep sadness at its heart, yet it's also a playful, exciting work of fiction. I can't wait to read more of it.

Anyway, very cool stuff, highly recommended if you're a fan of any of the writers I mentioned above.
Old 01-09-09, 07:28 PM
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Re: Roberto Bolano's 2666

I read it about a month ago. Excellent book. Not as difficult as it looks. Easy than a Pynchon for sure. Took me about a week and a half.
Old 01-10-09, 12:34 PM
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Re: Roberto Bolano's 2666

Originally Posted by Sierra Disc View Post
I've just read the first book so far of three (I have the paperback set) but I really, really liked it. Not to get all pluggy, but here's what I said on my blog about it, I picked it as one of my 10 favorite books read last year:

"2666" by Roberto Bolaño (in progress). (2008) -- Technically, this is a cheat, as I'm about 350 pages into this three-volume 900-page monolith. But unless it undergoes a radical deterioration, it's a thrilling ride, which reminds me in turns of some of my favorite writers like Haruki Murakami, Milan Kundera and Borges. Bolaño crafts a tale that starts out as the search for a missing, mysterious German writer, but it winds and catapults into endless fascinating digressions. Bolaño plays words beautifully, spinning out into gorgeous riffs and tirades. There's a deep sadness at its heart, yet it's also a playful, exciting work of fiction. I can't wait to read more of it.

Anyway, very cool stuff, highly recommended if you're a fan of any of the writers I mentioned above.
Thanks for that. It's been on my radar since EW reviewed it and then recently named it as one of the year's best.
Old 01-15-09, 09:40 AM
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Re: Roberto Bolano's 2666

Really enjoyed reading Los Detectives Salvajes in a Spanish lit class.... 10 years later, my Spanish may not be so hot (or patient), but I'll for sure be checking this out. Thanks for reminding me, and glad to see some other people interested.
Old 04-10-09, 01:49 AM
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Re: Roberto Bolano's 2666

Just a note that I recently finished his earlier novel The Savage Detectives and really enjoyed it too, it's less grim and dark than 2666 but is another fine ride. If you like 2666 you'll like this too I think.

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