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2666: A Novel

by

2666: A Novel Cover

 

Awards

The Rooster 2009 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee
The Rooster 2009 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

Review-A-Day

"Well, it's not dead yet. The modernist idea, which is really a Romantic idea, that the truest art comes from the margins, from the social depths, from revolt and disgust and dispossession, from endless cigarettes and a single worn overcoat....A young man can still get up in a Mexico City bookstore and declare war on the literary establishment, give the finger to coffeehouses and Octavio Paz, plunge like a burning wreck into willed obscurity, toil in poverty for twenty years, and wind up forging, at the cost of youth and health and finally life, works that mark a time and point a new way forward....This was Roberto Bolano's story, and beyond his works' particular merits — which are indeed great, though not quite as great as generally claimed — their value is just this: the tremendous courage that they bespeak." William Deresiewicz, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño's life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of Santa Teresa — a fictional Juárez — on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared.

Review:

"Last year's The Savage Detectives by the late Chilean-Mexican novelist Bolao (1953–2003) garnered extraordinary sales and critical plaudits for a complex novel in translation, and quickly became the object of a literary cult. This brilliant behemoth is grander in scope, ambition and sheer page count, and translator Wimmer has again done a masterful job. The novel is divided into five parts (Bolao 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 (read: Juarez), 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,' the novel's weakest section, 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,' the longest and most haunting section, operates on a number of levels: it is a tormented catalogue of women murdered and raped in Santa Teresa; 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. It is safe to predict that no novel this year will have as powerful an effect on the reader as this one." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

The Chilean writer Roberto Bolano died in 2003 at the relatively young age of 50, but since then a steady stream of English translations has introduced American readers to the Gabriel Garcia Marquez of our time: politically engaged, formally daring and wildly imaginative. The Savage Detectives, a huge novel published last year to wide acclaim, looked like his masterpiece, but now comes a monstrous... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

Preserved in typed and hand-written notes and journal entries, letters and story sketches, Philip K. Dick's Exegesis is the magnificent and imaginative final work of an author who dedicated his life to questioning the nature of reality and perception, the malleability of space and time, and the relationship between the human and the divine. The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick will make this tantalizing work available to the public for the first time. Edited and introduced by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem, this will be the definitive presentation of Dick's brilliant, and epic, final work.

Synopsis:

and#8220;A great and calamitous sequence of arguments with the universe: poignant, terrifying, ludicrous, and brilliant. The Exegesis is the sort of book associated with legends and madmen, but Dick wasnand#8217;t a legend and he wasnand#8217;t mad. He lived among us, and was a genius.and#8221;and#8212;Jonathan Lethem

Based on thousands of pages of typed and handwritten notes, journal entries, letters, and story sketches, The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick is the magnificent and imaginative final work of an author who dedicated his life to questioning the nature of reality and perception, the malleability of space and time, and the relationship between the human and the divine. Edited and introduced by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem, this is the definitive presentation of Dickand#8217;s brilliant, and epic, work.

In the Exegesis, Dick documents his eight-year attempt to fathom what he called and#8220;2-3-74,and#8221; a postmodern visionary experience of the entire universe and#8220;transformed into information.and#8221; In entries that sometimes ran to hundreds of pages, in a freewheeling voice that ranges through personal confession, esoteric scholarship, dream accounts, and fictional fugues, Dick tried to write his way into the heart of a cosmic mystery that tested his powers of imagination and invention to the limit.

This volume, the culmination of many years of transcription and archival research, has been annotated by the editors and by a unique group of writers and scholars chosen to offer a range of views into one of the most improbable and mind-altering manuscripts ever brought to light.

Synopsis:

THE  POSTHUMOUS MASTERWORK FROM “ONE OF THE GREATEST AND MOST INFLUENTIAL MODERN WRITERS” (JAMES WOOD, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW)
 
Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaños life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of SantaTeresa—a fictional Juárez—on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared.

About the Author

ROBERTO BOLAÑO was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He grew up in Chile and Mexico City, where he was a founder of the infrarealist poetry movement. His first full-length novel, The Savage Detectives, received the Herralde Prize and the Romulo Gallegos Prize when it appeared in 1998. Bolaño died in Blanes, Spain, at the age of fifty.

NATASHA WIMMER's translation of The Savage Detectives was chosen as one of the ten best books of 2007 by The Washington Post and The New York Times.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

lwsupremacy, July 1, 2009 (view all comments by lwsupremacy)
The novel 2666 spans several continents, though most of the story, or I should say stories, take place in Europe and Mexico. I don’t generally get too excited about North or South American writers because the culture is too familiar or mundane. For that reason Europe satisfies me more, at least from a literary perspective. In contrast to some Latin American authors I’ve read, Bolaño’s writing moves flawlessly through a variety of geographical and cultural backdrops, and he never falls into that “quaint little town” cliché.

2666 contains five “books” in total, all connected but each following a slightly different thread. The first book (The Part About the Critics) tells about a four European professors / critics / bibliophiles who are trying to track down the elusive German author, Benno von Archimboldi.Their search eventually leads them to city in northern Mexico where, in books three through four (The Part About Amalfitano, The Part About Fate, The Part About the Crimes) we learn about a series of violent murders that have been occurring in the area for several years. Finally, book five (The Part About Archimboldi) brings the novel to a conclusion with the story of the mysterious author himself.

This is one of the few books I’ve read recently that stands up to all the hype surrounding it. I thoroughly enjoyed 2666 and highly recommend it, especially to anyone who likes novels about European history, literature, or crime. My only caution is that it can get a little graphic in certain sections, notably “The Part About Crimes” which goes into detail about the murders (which incidentally are based on the very non-fictional femicides taking place for the past ten years in Ciudad Juárez).
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(9 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
Yonathan, April 27, 2009 (view all comments by Yonathan)
A shocking compelling book. The 900 hundred page novel written by Robert Bolano is the story of a violent, sexist Mexico that I, a naive tourist would never associate to the smiling people and lavish resorts of a all inclusive Americanized Mexico. The book is written in 5 parts. With a underlying thread of violence that connects them all. The story is both shocking and tender. The violence of part 4 is at times almost unbearable to read. I loved this book! I was deeply touched by one page and thoroughly disgusted by another. This is a difficult book to read but well worth every moment spent. I ended the book feeling connected to the writer and the country. The next time I visit Mexico I want experience the real country and the people. If you love long emotional tempestuous novels you must read it! Unfortunately Robert Balano died in 2003, but his legacy is a masterwork. This was for me one of the rare books that filled my mind with possibilities.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(8 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)
Eleanor Wynn, January 10, 2009 (view all comments by Eleanor Wynn)
I would have liked to read this in Spanish and probably will. The translation is good but there were places where I was left wondering what he really said. Bolano has to be the ultimate postmodern writer or maybe more post than that. There is certainly a hint of Cortazar, and a literature student will pick up many echoes from Bolano's extensive literary background.

He reflects the condition of a world divided between hypercivilization in the form of the literature professors and their interpersonal indulgences and intensive self-characterization, and the cultural degradation of nearshore border capitalism. The final book takes a look back at perhaps where things began to fall apart, in WWII; and everything loops together to wind up in the maquiladora town of Santa Teresa, south of Juarez.

The section on the murders of women in that town is based in fact, and the he meticulously describes the known but scant details of each case as from a police blotter, interweaving several other plotlines. First the accounts are morbidly fascinating, then overwhelming; then a dullness sets in, similar to the desensitization of the casually evil powers in that town, a mixture of narcos, politicians and academics on the edge of nowhere.

This is a truly cutting social commentary pulled along by a narrative pace that keeps you turning pages despite the density of detail and ideas that almost seem like brush to be cleared before you can solve the puzzle, yet are in fact themselves the substance. It is truly a shame that we lost Bolano.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374100148
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Subject:
General
Translator:
Wimmer, Natasha
Author:
Dick, Philip K.
Author:
Bolano, Roberto
Author:
Lethem, Jonathan
Author:
Bolao, Roberto
Author:
Jackson, Pamela
Author:
Wimmer, Natasha
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Mystery
Subject:
Detective / General
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20111108
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 8-pp insert
Pages:
976
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Morning News Tournament » Tournament of Books 2009
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

2666: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 976 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374100148 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Last year's The Savage Detectives by the late Chilean-Mexican novelist Bolao (1953–2003) garnered extraordinary sales and critical plaudits for a complex novel in translation, and quickly became the object of a literary cult. This brilliant behemoth is grander in scope, ambition and sheer page count, and translator Wimmer has again done a masterful job. The novel is divided into five parts (Bolao 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 (read: Juarez), 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,' the novel's weakest section, 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,' the longest and most haunting section, operates on a number of levels: it is a tormented catalogue of women murdered and raped in Santa Teresa; 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. It is safe to predict that no novel this year will have as powerful an effect on the reader as this one." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Well, it's not dead yet. The modernist idea, which is really a Romantic idea, that the truest art comes from the margins, from the social depths, from revolt and disgust and dispossession, from endless cigarettes and a single worn overcoat....A young man can still get up in a Mexico City bookstore and declare war on the literary establishment, give the finger to coffeehouses and Octavio Paz, plunge like a burning wreck into willed obscurity, toil in poverty for twenty years, and wind up forging, at the cost of youth and health and finally life, works that mark a time and point a new way forward....This was Roberto Bolano's story, and beyond his works' particular merits — which are indeed great, though not quite as great as generally claimed — their value is just this: the tremendous courage that they bespeak." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Synopsis" by ,
Preserved in typed and hand-written notes and journal entries, letters and story sketches, Philip K. Dick's Exegesis is the magnificent and imaginative final work of an author who dedicated his life to questioning the nature of reality and perception, the malleability of space and time, and the relationship between the human and the divine. The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick will make this tantalizing work available to the public for the first time. Edited and introduced by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem, this will be the definitive presentation of Dick's brilliant, and epic, final work.
"Synopsis" by ,
and#8220;A great and calamitous sequence of arguments with the universe: poignant, terrifying, ludicrous, and brilliant. The Exegesis is the sort of book associated with legends and madmen, but Dick wasnand#8217;t a legend and he wasnand#8217;t mad. He lived among us, and was a genius.and#8221;and#8212;Jonathan Lethem

Based on thousands of pages of typed and handwritten notes, journal entries, letters, and story sketches, The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick is the magnificent and imaginative final work of an author who dedicated his life to questioning the nature of reality and perception, the malleability of space and time, and the relationship between the human and the divine. Edited and introduced by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem, this is the definitive presentation of Dickand#8217;s brilliant, and epic, work.

In the Exegesis, Dick documents his eight-year attempt to fathom what he called and#8220;2-3-74,and#8221; a postmodern visionary experience of the entire universe and#8220;transformed into information.and#8221; In entries that sometimes ran to hundreds of pages, in a freewheeling voice that ranges through personal confession, esoteric scholarship, dream accounts, and fictional fugues, Dick tried to write his way into the heart of a cosmic mystery that tested his powers of imagination and invention to the limit.

This volume, the culmination of many years of transcription and archival research, has been annotated by the editors and by a unique group of writers and scholars chosen to offer a range of views into one of the most improbable and mind-altering manuscripts ever brought to light.

"Synopsis" by ,
THE  POSTHUMOUS MASTERWORK FROM “ONE OF THE GREATEST AND MOST INFLUENTIAL MODERN WRITERS” (JAMES WOOD, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW)
 
Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaños life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of SantaTeresa—a fictional Juárez—on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared.
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