Iowa City Public Library's Reviews > 2666

2666 by Roberto Bolaño
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Jul 21, 2010

bookshelves: fiction, john, staff-picks-blog

A posthumously published critical favorite, this was originally intended to be published as five separate titles–never mind that one of the sections is only 70-some pages long. A note after you’ve read the 900 pages addresses the "relatively ‘open’ architecture" of the book, meaning, I think, the reasons it doesn’t really cohere into a story. Turns out that author Roberto Bolano meant for the narrator to be Arturo Bolano, a character from The Amulet (1999), whose appearance in that novel also includes a reference to the mysterious eponymous date 2666.

In other words, read another 184 pages, and this novel may possibly become slightly less arcane. No thanks.

There’s lots to enjoy here, tho. Bolano writes about a dizzying array of settings and references, with some fairly memorable characters. If you only have a glancing knowledge of the hundreds of women murdered around Juarez, Mexico (lightly disguised here as Santa Teresa), you’ll never skim over these stories again after Bolano shows you the results of literally dozens of these killings, mostly of maquiladoras.

Still, consider this more a warning than a recommendation. It really is more like five different books linked by some common concerns than a coherent novel. --John

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