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2666 (3-Volume Boxed Set)by Roberto Bolano
The finest novel of our young century, 2666 is an epic masterpiece that solidifies Bolaño's reputation as a literary genius. It's an entire world unto itself, one — not unlike our own — filled with horror, neglect, depravity, brilliance, and beauty.
"...2666 is a monumental work of consummate achievement, one deserving of the most exalted acclaim. Epic in scope and epitomizing the 'total novel,' the late Chilean writer's masterpiece fuses many different genres and styles, yet is comparable to no other novel in modern literature." Jeremy Garber, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Last year's The Savage Detectives by the late Chilean-Mexican novelist Bolao (19532003) 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.)
"[A] consummate display of literary virtuosity powered by an emotional thrust that can rip your heart out. Unquestionably the finest novel of the present century — and we may be saying the same thing 92 years from now." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"A novel like 2666 is its own preserving machine, delivering itself into our hearts, sentence by questing, unassuming sentence....Bolaño has proven [literature] can do anything, and for an instant, at least, given a name to the unnamable." Jonathan Lethem, The New York Times Book Review
"Boasting Bolaño's trademark devices...this posthumously published work is consistently masterful....The book is rightly praised as Bolaño's masterpiece..." Library Journal
This posthumous masterwork from "one of the greatest and most influential modern writers" (New York Times Book Review) features a throng of unforgettable characters whose lives intersect in the urban sprawl of Santa Teresa on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared.
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 SantaTeresaa fictional Juárezon the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
Winner of the PEN Translation PrizeA Los Angeles Times Favorite Book of the Year
One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book
Time Magazine's Best Book of the Year
One of The Washington Post 10 Best Books of the Year
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year
A Seattle Times Best Book of the Year
A Village Voice Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
Three academics on the trail of a reclusive German author; a New York reporter on his first Mexican assignment; a widowed philosopher; a police detective in love with an elusive older womanthese are among the searchers drawn to the border city of Santa Teresa, where over the course of a decade hundreds of women have disappeared.
Published posthumously, 2666 is, in the words of La Vanguardia, "not just the great Spanish-language novel of this decade, but one of the cornerstones that define an entire literature."
"Well beyond his sometimes nomadic life, Roberto Bolaño was an exemplary literary rebel. To drag fiction toward the unknown he had to go there himself, and then invent a method with which to represent it. Since the unknown place was reality, the results of his work are multi-dimensional, in a way that runs ahead of a critic's one-at-a-time powers of description. Highlight Bolaño's conceptual play and you risk missing the sex and viscera in his work. Stress his ambition and his many references and you conjure up threats of exclusive high-modernist obscurity, or literature as a sterile game, when the truth is it's hard to think of a writer who is less of a snob, orin the double sense of exposing us to unsavory things and carrying seeds for the futureless sterile . . . 2666 was published in Spanish in 2004, a year after Bolaño's death. It runs to 898 pages in English and was not quite finishedyet one doesn't really feel the lack of final revisions doing much to diminish its power . . . With his skill at letting small details and their implications work in our minds, Bolaño allows us to start to map out for ourselves the larger social pattern. From description, we could probably sketch the city of Santa Teresa, quadrant by quadrant, from upscale condos to sports fields to bus stops and shacks by a makeshift latrine. Factories beckon migrants from all over Mexico to work, but offer no transport home at night beyond long, solitary walks in the dark. A creepy German nationalwhose height and blond fairness give him, in the Mexican context, a rather monstrous aspectis held on suspicion of murder. The worst police seem wired to power; the better police are under pressure to nab a suspectand the crimes go on. Fascinatingly, the United States appears as a part of characters' remembered visits; a Mexican-American sheriff from Arizona crosses over to find out what happened to a blue collar woman from his town. But the United States's relationship to the drug trade and the history of the assembly plants are not explored directly or at length. Instead of belaboring the obvious, Bolaño seems to have chosen the challenge of representing something pervasive . . . Bolaño's vision is fierce . . . Near the end of the novel, we learn the reason Reiter is headed for Mexico. And then he is gone. Instead of completion we have the physical sense of being in the presence of a controlling object, which we are not yet done investigating. For a while yet, our brain feels rewired for multiplicity. This is not just a cultural or geographical question, though if 2666 contains a lesson it is that people are always from some confluence of factors more bizarre than a country. And it goes deeper than the question of multiple voices. We have eavesdropped on characters and then felt ourselves in the funny, sad, and dangerous process of needing and making meaning. Since there is no logical endpoint, we close with an image from the novel that is out of time. A world of 'endless shipwreck,' but met with the most radiant effort. It is as good a way as any to describe Bolaño and his overwhelming book."Sarah Kerr, The New York Review of Books
"Shortly before he died of liver failure in July 2003, Roberto Bolaño remarked that he would have preferred to be a detective rather than a writer. Bolaño was 50 years old at the time, and by then he was widely considered to be the most important Latin American novelist since Gabriel García Márquez. But when Mexican Playboy interviewed him, Bolaño was unequivocal. 'I would have liked to be a homicide detective, much more than a writer,' he told the magazine. 'Of that I'm absolutely sure. A string of homicides. Someone who could go back alone, at night, to the scene of the crime, and not be afraid of ghosts.' Detective stories, and provocative remarks, were always passions of Bolaño'she once declared James Ellroy among the best living writers in Englishbut his interest in gumshoe tales went beyond matters of plot and style. In their essence, detective stories are investigations into the motives and mechanics of violence, and Bolañowho moved to Mexico the year of the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre and was imprisoned during the 1973 military coup in his native Chilewas also obsessed with such matters. The great subject of his <oeuvre> is the relationship between art and infamy, craft and crime, the writer and the totalitarian state. In fact, all of Bolaño's mature novels scrutinize how writers react to repressive regimes. Distant Star (1996) grapples with Chile's history of death squads and desaparecidos by conjuring up a poet turned serial killer. The Savage Detectives (1998) exalts a gang of young poets who joust against state-funded writers during the years of Mexico's dirty wars. Amulet (1999) revolves around a middle-aged poet who survives the government's 1968 invasion of the Autonomous University of Mexico by hiding in a bathroom. By Night in Chile (2000) depicts a literary salon where writers party in the same house in which dissidents are tortured. And Bolaño's final, posthumous novel, 2666, is also spun from ghastly news: the murder, since 1993, of more than 430 women and girls in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, particularly in Ciudad Juárez . . . By setting his novel in Santa Teresa, a fictional town in Sonora, rather than in Juárez, Bolaño was able to blur the lines between what he kn
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.
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