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2666

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4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  14,835 ratings  ·  2,218 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, mentall...more
Paperback, 898 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Picador (first published 2004)
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brian
the english version of this book hasn’t come out yet. it comes out in november. as such, i offer no spoilers. i’m here to make three points:

1) the blood and guts
2) the disaster
3) the women

1) y’know that bookbuzz you get when you’re walking around the world and it’s all colored with the life of the book you’re reading? 894 pages of bolano’s epic and i felt like the guy in those 50s sci-fi movies who gets shrunk down real small and is injected into someone’s body. except it’s a book. and i’m in th...more
Jessica
Oct 13, 2008 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: some guy on the internet
I hate these star ratings. I'm docking this baby one, because I honestly don't believe there's any way he was finished. This book wasn't done! I didn't read the Introduction and I'm not clear on the back story, but my vague understanding is that Bolaño died after sending this thing to his publisher, who claims it was ready to go, but seriously, man, I just can't believe that. This book is almost great. Parts of it are totally mindblowing, but the fact of the matter is, I'm convinced that it need...more
Christy
Roberto Bolaño's 2666 has been described as "the most electrifying literary event of the year" (Lev Grossman, Time), as "a landmark in what's possible for the novel as a form" (Jonathan Lethem, The New York Times Book Review), as "a work of devastating power and complexity" (Adam Mansbach, The Boston Globe), as "the work of a literary genius" (Francine Prose, Harper's Magazine), and, repeatedly, as a masterpiece.

Adam Kirsch of Slate.com writes that "2666 is an epic of whispers and details, full...more
Emily
I accept that I'll probably get flamed for this, but enough is enough: this maddening, rapacious, and occasionally compelling book is making my life miserable. Will I finish it? Will it matter? Let me say for the record that I counted myself as a likely enthusiast -- I fit the profile -- but after a long, protracted battle, can't bring myself to sing along with the choir to which Bolano is preaching. In fact, I'm starting to wonder if we're so enslaved as readers to the cult of the author that w...more
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 16, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2010 only)
Before reaching the last 100 pages of the book, I was bored. I was beginning to be afraid that the 33 early mornings when I had to wake up at 3:00 or 4:00 am just to read my target 20-30 pages of this book everyday would all be wasted. There were many questions and loose ends in my mind and I was already wondering if, in the end part, Bolano would care to tie them all up. You see, this book was published posthumously and one of the reviews here in Goodreads seemed to indicate that this was an un...more
Mariel
Sep 17, 2011 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: in 2666 I'll surely be dead
Recommended to Mariel by: a guy I'm no longer friends with
If things work out, and sometimes they don't, you're back in the presence of sacred. You burrow your head into your own chest and open your eyes and watch." (That's from page 315. Probably my favorite page in 2666.)

There were times when reading 2666 that I feared it was going to kill my love of reading. Kill it like some death toll statistics. Impersonal and I wasn't there. Somewhere far away, at someone else's hands. I'd forget my longings and not pick up another book. My hands eyes would go em...more
Jesse
Written under the specter of his own death, Roberto Bolano's "2666" is a statement of the capacity of cruelty that resides in the darkest heart of humanity. The novel is really five novellas, thematically tied together, and centering around the fictional Santa Teresa (Cuidad Juarez in our world) where hundreds of young women are being raped and murdered. The plot of the novel takes a back seat to the real driving force which is the nightmare deathscape of Santa Teresa. There is some great yarn s...more
MJ Nicholls
Original Review:

A five-book moribund monsterpiece from Chile’s most profitable and posthumously prodigious literary export. Each book has its own narrative identity while retaining the Bolaño stamp: sprawling sentences savaged by commas, a free indirect style where dialogue blends with prose and narrative position hops from person to person, strange poetic waves of readable and glorious prose, and nasty sex. The Part About the Critics is the funniest section: a suckerpunch satire where a cast of...more
El
This is one of those books that surpasses anything positive or negative I might manage to say about it. This is one of those books that I can say with a fair amount of certainty actually consumed me. I thought about it constantly while I was reading it, and while enough time has not passed since I finished it this morning, I am fairly certain I will be thinking about it regularly for quite some time. I showed it to someone at work and said it would be the kind of book to cause my brain to explod...more
Paul
If that tosser Ian Graye can trash Infinite Jest in so unseemly a fashion then all I can say is....

CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH BETWEEN INFINITE JEST BY DAVID FOSTER WALLACE AND 2666 BY ROBERTO BOLANO


IJ : choose your weapons, fatso.

2666: Fuck man, what is this, the 14th century?

IJ : I didn’t organise this, I don’t make the rules

2666: what’s going on here anyway? We were both written by dead guys and now they have cruelly pitted us against each other for the tacky reality-tv-WWF-style pleasure of this m...more
Mike Puma
So many intelligent and thoughtful reviews already exist for 2666 that another, one from the School of Redundancy School, seems like a waste of time that would be better spent rereading any of Bolaño’s works. This is one that will haunt me, one for my To Reread shelf, then for my To Rereread shelf. What I look forward to most—Bolaño-freak that I am—are the inevitable volumes of Bolaño criticism to come and the opportunity to reread RB’s writing along with them, bumping what now are 4-star rating...more
Eddie Watkins
It starts off innocently enough.

A group of Academic Lit Nerds are mutually obsessed with an obscure novelist, and become obsessed with tracking him down in the flesh, which leads to a rather conventional but gripping opening act of this vast novel in five acts.

The next two acts are equally conventional in their narratives, and equally gripping, but progressively darker, centered as they are in a northern Mexican city consumed by an outbreak of unsolved and gruesome murders of young women.

Then...more
Conrad
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Praj
Occasionally a book comes along whose peculiar title is the sole purpose of the purchase. Immediately commencing on the initial pages, it plunges you in a labyrinth of complete brouhaha enmeshing every demented string whilst deciphering normalization of reasoning. And as the book concludes, you emerge with a smile of gratification as you have been just mesmerized by the aura of a genius.

2666 is a metaphysical necropolis of the cavernously hidden trepidation and disparagement that frequently seek...more
trivialchemy
[I realize the in thing right now is to publish revolutionary, anti-censorship reviews. Alas, this is not such a review. That said, it is highly off topic through almost the entire thing, not to mention explicit and possibly offensive to the mostly theoretical "Goodreads Team," and so I encourage you to flag it accordingly. --Ed.]

That night, as he was working the door at the bar, he amused himself by thinking about time with two speeds, one very slow, in which the movement of people and objects
...more
jeremy
if, as roberto bolaño surmised in his speech accepting the prestigious premio rómulo gallegos prize (for the savage detectives), literature is indeed “a dangerous occupation,” then 2666 is certainly his attestation. completed shortly before his death in 2003 (though left partially unedited), 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 gen...more
Geoff
Some pages into 2666 I started to wonder where I had seen this technique before, Bolano’s scenes, his sometimes brief, sometimes protracted, sometimes linear and sometimes anachronistic vignettes (little bricks with white mortar in between that compose the foundation of this monster of a book). Then I remembered, Joyce employed the same style in the Wandering Rocks section of Ulysses (the one that starts with “The superior, the very reverend John Conmee S.J. reset his smooth watch…”). The Wander...more
Carl
“Madness is contagious,” the most memorable line from this sprawling, desultory, Frankenstein of a novel. And madness is a tedious, dull slog in Bolano’s world. I can ride through a couple hundred pages of experimental obnoxiousness in an ambitious novel like this, as long as the rewards are there. But, ultimately, 2666’s rewards are minor.

I started out liking this book, found it fascinating and darkly funny in the Kafka sense. From there the humor was either lost, or, later, shifted registers i...more
Paul
I'm a guy who never falls for the hype, I see those orchestrated culture-vulture whisper campaigns a mile away, I will not be dragooned into seeing the latest cruddy art house movie or the subversive comedian who deliberately doesn't make you laugh, nor yet do I watch Big Brother as an ironic protest against the war in Afghanistan - so imagine my horror when I got home from Waterstones and found I'd bought 2666 in a three-for-two deal. Somewhere in the stunned silence I heard the tiny impudent s...more
Lee
Something wholly positive that can be said about 2666 is that it's not summarizable in plot or theme -- its dimensions suggest the entirety of life on earth. Seriously! And so all I can really think to do is offer a telling quotation: ". . . history, which is a simple whore, has no decisive moments but is a proliferation of instants, brief interludes that vie with one another in monstrousness." At times, especially early on (first 300 pages), I sometimes impatiently derided this monster as a hyb...more
Greg
Coming in just five minutes under the wire of ringing in the new year I finished this book. I'd been toying with giving it four stars, I figured I would give it four because it's a deeply flawed novel. I'll come back to this.

There may be spoilers, but nothing too serious in what follows (but where I allude to things that happen in this novel and in Infinite Jest).

About fifty pages into the final part of the book, with about two hundred and something pages left I knew that it wasn't going to end...more
Josh
Eloquent Thrashing

Randall Jarrell (so many double letters in that name!) once said that a novel is a prose narrative of a certain length that has something wrong with it. Bolano's 2666 reverses this idea by implying that actually, a novel is something wrong that has a prose narrative of a certain length around it. Seen from the point of view of finished art, I think it's a failure: that is, it attempts to cohere, but does not. Seen another way, however - a more important way, let's say Moby Dick...more
Steve
Feb 21, 2010 Steve rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to Steve by: Jane
HEADLINE: I do not recommend that you read the best novel that I have read in the last 20 years.


Yes, 2666 is easily the best novel that I have read in the last 20 years, perhaps longer. No, I do not recommend it to you or anyone else.

Nonetheless, in the event you are unfortunately tempted, I would like to be helpful. Please answer the 20 questions in the following questionnaire with a simple “yes” or “no.” You may answer with a complicated “yes” or “no” if you wish, but in that case please capit...more
Jenn(ifer)
Why four starts you ask? I thought the first part and the last part were worthy of 5 stars, and there were 5 star moments in the other parts.... it's really more of a 4 and a half stars, but it just doesn't quite make it to a five star rating for me.

Part four was so graphic that it literally made me cringe and made me sick to my stomach. It was like watching a horror film and wanting to turn away from the screen, except you can't escape the words on the page. That's not a bad thing; it's a good...more
Aidan Watson-Morris
wow. this is the real deal. unlike the trendy non-novels that promise some inane, trite, ham-fisted unity to grant them greater value (each story prominently features a character named ted! &c) & do so often invoking calvino, associating his playful style with dreadfully quasi-literary blandness, this is a novel, but an entirely different breed of novel (as bolaño puts it, 'a proliferation of instants'). not much else i can say right now - still reeling.

okay. let me try to put some thoug...more
Ademption
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeremy
I finished this a couple of months ago and have probably lost a lot of what I would like to say, but that doesn't change the fact that this was my favorite reads of 2009 and one of my top favorites of all time. In terms of what I felt while reading it, I would compare it to East of Eden except that I felt that reading Steinbeck was like fine wine while Bolano is heroin. Both books made me want to read with every spare second I had. Even just a paragraph or sentence might be enough to keep me goi...more
Christopher


UPDATE: Aside from the wonderful detail from Gustave Moreau's Jupiter and Semele featured on the paperback version of 2666, the best work of art to assist your reading would be the work above, the third panel of Heironymous Bosch's triptych Garden of Earthly Delights.



ORIGINAL REVIEW: Reading 2666 is like peering into a well.

In Part One: The Part About the Critics, you observe the well from a park bench. It's a little romantic; there are four critics, all obsessed with the same obscure German aut...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
On its page 887, just eleven pages before it ends, you'll find a self-description of this novel done wittingly or unwittingly, I don't care. Roberto Bolano wrote:


"The style was strange. The writing was clear and sometimes even transparent, but the way the stories followed one after another didn't lead anywhere: ...in the end, all that was really left was nature, a nature that dissolved little by little in a boiling cauldron until it vanished completely."


Nenette, a friend here at GR, would have a...more
Lee
Just finished listening to this after reading it a few years ago when it came out. It sounded even better than it read the first time through when I thought it was among the best things I'd read. It's endless, open, unpredictable, monumentally poetic, dark, insightful, vivid, audacious, gripping, intentionally dull at times ("an oasis of horror in a desert of boredom"), LOLful, and worthy of pretty much every other evangelical adjective one might think of (OK-- it's not much of a tearjerker and...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Favorite Characters 1 17 Sep 02, 2014 04:03PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Expert opinion needed (super/staff) on messed up Dutch edition 6 28 Jul 29, 2013 02:36PM  
Goodreads Librari...: edition with foreign cover and translator 1 26 Jul 20, 2013 07:07AM  
Where are you? 9 130 Nov 24, 2012 01:04PM  
Alternate Order Of Reading 2666 7 155 Oct 29, 2012 03:23AM  
/lit/ Revival of ...: * Week 004: 2666 16 99 Jun 13, 2012 03:53PM  
De-humanisation Of Victims - Plot Device to show us up? 16 106 Feb 04, 2012 05:51PM  
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For most of his early adulthood, Bolaño was a vagabond, living at one time or another in Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, France and Spain.

Bolaño moved to Europe in 1977, and finally made his way to Spain, where he married and settled on the Mediterranean coast near Barcelona, working as a dishwasher, a campground custodian, bellhop and garbage collector — working during the day and writing at night.

H...more
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“Reading is like thinking, like praying, like talking to a friend, like expressing your ideas, like listening to other people's ideas, like listening to music, like looking at the view, like taking a walk on the beach.” 258 likes
“So everything lets us down, including curiosity and honesty and what we love best. Yes, said the voice, but cheer up, it's fun in the end.” 202 likes
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