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2666

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2666 Cover

ISBN13: 9780312429218
ISBN10: 0312429215
Condition: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"For there are some novels that make you feel as if a powerful force has moved through the writer, as if the artist has become the vehicle for the words of an exalted ventriloquist or has indeed been possessed by something....2666 seems like the work of a literary genius in the ferocious grip of a spirit not unlike the one that seizes Florita Almada." Francine Prose, Harper's Magazine (read the entire Harper's review)

"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:

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 woman — these 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. Bolano was a difficult, angry, self-reflexive writer who lived an erratic and occasionally unpleasant life. And Americans, as the head of the Swedish Academy has annoyingly but rightly pointed out, don't read much fiction in translation anyway. But when the first of Bolano's major novels, The Savage Detectives, a massive, bizarre epic about a band of avant-garde Mexican poets, was published in the U.S. last year, it instantly became a cult hit among readers and practically a fetish object to critics. Bolano's second (and last) major novel is titled 2666, and if anything, it is even more massive and more bizarre. "It is also a masterpiece, the electrifying literary event of the year." (Lev Grossman, Time)

Well beyond his sometimes nomadic life, Roberto Bolano 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 Bolano'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, or — in the double sense of exposing us to unsavory things and carrying seeds for the future — less sterile . . . 2666 was published in Spanish in 2004, a year after Bolano's death. It runs to 898 pages in English and was not quite finished — yet 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, Bolano 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 national — whose height and blond fairness give him, in the Mexican context, a rather monstrous aspect — is held on suspicion of murder. The worst police seem wired to power; the better police are under pressure to nab a suspect — and 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, Bolano seems to have chosen the challenge of representing something pervasive . . . Bolano'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.

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:

With 2666, Bolano joins the ambitious overachievers of the 20th-century novel . . . who push the novel far past its conventional size and scope to encompass an entire era, deploying encyclopedic knowledge and stylistic verve to offer a grand . . . summation of their culture." The Washington Post

Review:

"A masterpiece...the most electrifying literary event of the year." Lev Grossman, Time

Review:

"Indeed, Bolaño produced not only a supreme capstone to his own vaulting ambition, but a landmark in what's possible for the novel as a form in our increasingly, and terrifyingly, postnational world." Jonathan Lethem, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"A work of devastating power and complexity, a final statement worthy of a master." Adam Mansbach, The Boston Globe

Review:

"Bolaño's most audacious performance....It is bold in a way that few works really are it kicks away the divide between playfulness and seriousness." Henry Hitchings, Financial Times (UK)

Review:

"The opening of 2666 had me in its thrall from those first few pages....For all the precision and poetry of its language, for all the complexity of its structure, for all the range of styles and genres it acknowledges and encompasses, for all its wicked humor, its inventiveness, and sophistication, 2666 seems like the work of a literary genius." Francine Prose, Harper's Magazine

Synopsis:

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 woman — these are among the searchers drawn to the border city of Santa Teresa, where over the course of a decade hundreds of women have disappeared.

About the Author

Robert Bolano was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He spent much of his adult life in Mexico and in Spain, where he died at the age of fifty. His novel The Savage Detectives was named one of the best books of 2007 by The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times Book Review.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 25 comments:

Linda Stojek-Bliss, January 11, 2012 (view all comments by Linda Stojek-Bliss)
I know I'm a latecomer to this book but, of everything I read last year, this was the one that left me stunned.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
ab903, January 5, 2012 (view all comments by ab903)
My favorite aspect of Bolano's writing is how he uses matter-of-fact language to describe the extraordinary; his prose lulls me into forgetting I am reading a masterpiece. This is Bolano's masterpiece.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Flyzie11, September 17, 2011 (view all comments by Flyzie11)
This is an extraordinary book of epic proportions and mind-bending intellect. This story shows the heart and soul of a tortured genius at his best. The twisting nature of this story somehow keeps you captivated page after page after page, whether you can even follow all of the intricate caricatures and scenarios. From graphic to obscene, from sensual to the mundane, an entire world unto itself is somehow made believable and relateable where magical realism meets gritty truth. A truly magnificent work showcasing a rare and amazing brain.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 25 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312429218
Author:
Bolano, Roberto
Publisher:
Picador USA
Translator:
Wimmer, Natasha
Author:
Wimmer, Natasha
Author:
Bolao, Roberto
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Mystery
Subject:
Detective / General
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20090931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
912
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Staff Picks
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

2666 Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.50 In Stock
Product details 912 pages Picador USA - English 9780312429218 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 , "For there are some novels that make you feel as if a powerful force has moved through the writer, as if the artist has become the vehicle for the words of an exalted ventriloquist or has indeed been possessed by something....2666 seems like the work of a literary genius in the ferocious grip of a spirit not unlike the one that seizes Florita Almada." (read the entire Harper's review)
"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)
"Review" by , With 2666, Bolano joins the ambitious overachievers of the 20th-century novel . . . who push the novel far past its conventional size and scope to encompass an entire era, deploying encyclopedic knowledge and stylistic verve to offer a grand . . . summation of their culture."
"Review" by , "A masterpiece...the most electrifying literary event of the year."
"Review" by , "Indeed, Bolaño produced not only a supreme capstone to his own vaulting ambition, but a landmark in what's possible for the novel as a form in our increasingly, and terrifyingly, postnational world."
"Review" by , "A work of devastating power and complexity, a final statement worthy of a master."
"Review" by , "Bolaño's most audacious performance....It is bold in a way that few works really are it kicks away the divide between playfulness and seriousness."
"Review" by , "The opening of 2666 had me in its thrall from those first few pages....For all the precision and poetry of its language, for all the complexity of its structure, for all the range of styles and genres it acknowledges and encompasses, for all its wicked humor, its inventiveness, and sophistication, 2666 seems like the work of a literary genius."
"Synopsis" by , 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 woman — these are among the searchers drawn to the border city of Santa Teresa, where over the course of a decade hundreds of women have disappeared.

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