Stephanie W's Reviews > 2666

2666 by Roberto Bolaño
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Sep 16, 11

bookshelves: character-driven, conceptual-mind-fuck, fiction, latin-american
Read from August 21 to September 17, 2011

I always have a difficult reading Roberto Bolano books, not because there is anything unlikable about them, but because they are so mentally and emotionally taxing. 2666 was no different, except this book was more emotionally taxing than Savage Detectives because of the 200 pages of vivid description of the Santa Teresa murders. It was one of the most brutal, gruesome books I've ever read, making it a slow read for that section in particular.Yet everything else about the book was so perfectly interconnected that I couldn't help but love the story as a whole/

Bolano's prose is wonderful, as always. He offers vivid descriptions of women, sex, blood, murder, love, Nazi Germany and Sonora. The leaves you with wonderfully haunting lines (usually sexual) that play at the back corners of my mind, picking at it until the words play on repeat. "[He] fucked her until she was no more than a tremor in his arms."

The section about the critics was a good, realistic narrative entrance into the story. The plot, the punctuation, the dialogue were all in a traditional style. As the work progressed to the section about Amalfitano, Fate, the murders and eventually Archimboldi himself, the work takes on a more and more surreal feel. Being drawn so much closer to the real world (away from the academic world the critics) lends an almost unrealistic nature to the book. It's that perfect play of (un)reality and the characters that make this book so damn wonderful.

Some have said the book feels unfinished, but I beg to differ. It feels as finished as Savage Detectives felt when it ended. It was unsatisfying, but it could not have ended any other way. It always feels as though the most real stories always have those same unsatisfying, unfinished endings. When reading the end of the story, I was reminded distinctly of a line from the first section of the book, in the first 50 pages:

"With a heavy heart, he thought how wrong Norton was when she said her love and her ex-husband and everything they'd been through were behind her. Nothing is ever behind us."
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Reading Progress

08/22/2011 page 40
4.0% "So soon into the book and I can already tell this may be one of the most beautiful, important, spectacular things I've read in my entire life."
08/24/2011 page 203
18.0% "Bought a new copy of this book after losing the old one. So far I've learned that Spanish men can make love for 6 hours, come two or three times, and collapse half dead. I'm not sure whether or not that sounds appealing..."

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