nanner3, September 27, 2011 (view all comments by nanner3)
I don't know what the title means, but it doesn't matter. The book itself is full of mystery, a slow and quiet suspense that draws the reader in. There's the mystery of the elusive Archimboldi, the obvious mystery of the murders in Mexico, the mystery of each life that passes through the pages, the mystery of life itself. Characters, even minor ones, begin talking and go off on a monologue or tale that seems to have nothing to do with the main story, but advances our understanding of the world in the way that both fables and reportage do, in their different ways.
Part Four, "The Part About the Crimes", differs from the other parts of the book in that it matter-of-factly describes murder after murder. Yes, mingled with these descriptions are investigations involving reporters and police, and other characters enter and occasionally deliver short monologues, but reading the factual descriptions of victim after victim becomes numbing. I kept on, not skipping over any, realizing this was done to convey the horror of these still-unsolved crimes, and to force us to remember these women - they each had a name, they each had individual characteristics, they're each gone.
Jonathan Lethem's[Image] excellent review in the New York Times on November 9, 2008, describes his excitement about 2666, and gives some background on Bolan͂o, as well as discussing the author's wish to publish the five parts of the book separately (he died before the book was printed), but as parts of one large work. If Bolan͂o had written nothing else, this novel is enough to immortalize him (the meaning of literary fame is one of the pervasive themes of this book).
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da, January 30, 2010 (view all comments by da)
'2666' is well deserving of all the critical praise, and it is, without a doubt, the best work of fiction of the last decade. Despite its scope and disturbing subject matter, the novel remains coherent through all 800+ pages and countless protagonists.
This is not a novel for the faint of heart, particularly the second volume, which contains 200 pages of perhaps the most disturbing narrative ever penned.
If you loved 'The Savage Detectives' or any of the shorter Bolano novels, you will not be disappointed with his magnum opus.
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E-lektra, January 2, 2010 (view all comments by E-lektra)
After reading the 2666 trilogy I went on to read everything written by Bolano. He is the latest, and the ultimate, great Latin American writer. This book starts in Europe with effete literary critics, devotees of an esoteric German writer, and moves to Northern Sonoran Mexico where maquiladoras and narcotics traffickers come together to perfect the destruction of Latin culture. The police blotter accounts of 200 murdered women form the core of book two. If these are not the real accounts, they could be. Refined literary comment and history combine with stark out-of-control violence, endangered innocence, and a dim ray of hope in humanity to give Bolano's work a narrative momentum slowed only by loving details of a society now seemingly gone. If there is anything to compare this to, it is the work of David Lynch. This novel was unfinished after three volumes. I could have read any number more. So sorry that there will be no more new work from this brilliant, cuttingly observant and educated, deeply feeling writer.
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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.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"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.)
"Review A Day"
by Jeremy Garber, Powells.com,
"...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." (read the entire Powells.com review)
by Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review),
"[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."
by Jonathan Lethem, The New York Times Book 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."
by Library Journal,
"Boasting Bolaño's trademark devices...this posthumously published work is consistently masterful....The book is rightly praised as Bolaño's masterpiece..."
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.
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.
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.
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 Prize
A 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
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