Monday, January 24, 2011

Week 3: 2666, by Roberto Bolaño

At the risk of sounding effusive, I am going to publicly declare my love for Roberto Bolaño. After reading The Savage Detectives, I was smitten. I knew I wanted to tackle 2666 for my book challenge this year, but I balked at reading the book’s 900 pages in a week. I decided to go for it and never looked back. This book is so wonderful that it didn’t feel long – despite regularly having to read on my lunch breaks; at the bus stop; until 2:00 am – and I ended the book wanting more. The story is divided into five parts. It was written posthumously after Bolaño’s death at age 50. As he became more ill and began to put his affairs in order, he suggested that 2666 be split into five books to make it more appealing to the masses so that his wife and children would be provided for financially. However, it was ultimately decided by his heirs to keep the book whole, and after reading it, I can’t imagine it being split up. Each part is connected to the others by a common, terrible thread: the mass murders of Santa Teresa, Mexico (based on the real-life mass murders of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico). Together, each section forms a tale that is beautiful, frightening and mysterious all at once, a tale that spans various continents and decades. Bolaño is the magnetic guy at the party who loves books and poetry and is at once effortlessly cool and friendly. He understands men and women, the intricacies of life, and the yearning for adventure. This novel showcases his exquisite writing skills. The ease in which he can switch from one culture to another (narrating convincingly through the perspective of an American, for example) or rewind back through history (from the mid-nineties to Germany in the throes of war) is remarkable. I wish I knew Bolaño, or at least, I wish he hadn’t passed away. I suppose all I can do is read the rest of his books and befriend more of the characters that he crafted so lovingly.


  1. I love this concept! I'm really looking forward to reading your blog all year :)

  2. Thank you! I feel that way about your blog, too!