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2018 Book Discussions > 2666 - (3) The Part About Fate (spoilers allowed) (Mar 2018)

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message 1: by Hugh (last edited Mar 22, 2018 02:47AM) (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2625 comments Mod
Spoiler thread for the third part. Once again spoilers are fine as long as they don't talk about the remaining 2 parts. At the start of this section we seem to be moving away from Santa Teresa again to meet Oscar Fate, an American journalist. As in the first two parts the story starts outside Mexico and moves to Santa Teresa.

message 2: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2316 comments I did not comment on Part 2 because, as different as they were, I found Parts 2 & 3 the most connected and was not want to risk mixing them in that thread. What connected them for me was Rosa, Amalfitano's daughter. My impression of her from Part 2, mostly from her father's discussion of her and with her, was challenged by her involvement with Charly Cruz. She is not the focus of either part she struck me as important in each.

Fate's story was interesting but there was much unexplained. It starts with the death of his mother, something that he does not seem to have told his employer had happened. His interaction with Seaman was fascinating, as was the sermon that Seaman preached. Also interesting was his remembrance of his interview with the last communist in Brooklyn. More so than in the first two parts, I was struck by the stories with the story of Fate.

message 3: by Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (last edited Mar 24, 2018 06:27AM) (new)

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 245 comments I agree--these two sections (and I haven't read any further yet) seem sort of interconnected. It might be because from both Oscar Amalfitano's and Oscar Fate's point of view, the world seems to be coming at the reader in a string of unconnected or loosely connected vignettes. In a sense, I can recognize this as a literary device--it infuses every happening with an equal aspect of inflated importance; it's as if Bolaño is reporting the tips of a submerged pattern as they break the surface of the two Oscar's consciousness. Like being able to see the tops of a oceanic mountain chain as strange little islands in the middle of the Pacific.

Whether it's a technique or just a device, it's very appealing to me. It's fascinating, though I can understand how it would not appeal to some readers. To me, this kind of novel seems an accurate representation of an introspective life, from a person who notices the odd conjunctions and intersections, yet remains an unemotional observer. As if there is always some other part of the puzzle yet to be revealed, to be filed away as another clue.

The appearance of the Archimboldi type figure at the end of this section actually seems too neat an ending, considering the nature of the earlier writing, but I feel like I can understand the need to throw out some kind of link to the rest of the book.

All in all, I've been extremely impressed by this so far. It's much better than I expected.

message 4: by Dianne (last edited Mar 25, 2018 12:22PM) (new)

Dianne | 204 comments I suppose the style was similar to part 2, and they both included Rosa and her father, but other than that I thought these two sections were totally different. I didn't think Fate was a particularly engaging character - he seemed depressed and out of touch and somehow he even made topics that should have been interesting (a serial killer on the loose, him falling in love with Rosa) rather dull. I hope that if the serial killer thread continues it is not from the point of view of Fate! I agree with Bryan about the point that many of those telling these stories are from the perspective of the 'unemotional observer' but somehow that seems hard to buy in this section - how could all of this be told in an unemotional fashion?
When I think about it more, most of the characters seem to represent one main emotion - resigned. Rosa, her father, Fate, the men in love with Norton - they just accept whatever comes. Even the death of Fate's mother doesn't seem to impact him, he just references at one point a possible ongoing pain related to her death - but even then it is as if he happens to remark upon the pain from an outsider's perspective. Perhaps, like the title of this section and the name of our narrator in it, they feel that there is not much they can personally do to impact their destiny.

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 245 comments Did anyone think of The Stranger when reading this section?

message 6: by Dianne (new)

Dianne | 204 comments Good point Bryan! And a similar detachment to their death of their mothers

message 7: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2625 comments Mod
Some very interesting comments here - thanks. I agree that Fate was something of a cipher - for me this part was much more about the people he met. I have not read the Camus for a very long time, and didn't pick up a connection.

message 8: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2316 comments I agree that Fate was not a particularly engaging character and that he seemed depressed. I am with Hugh on finding the people he met to be the interesting part of this part, especially Seaman.

message 9: by Jacob (new)

Jacob | 7 comments Just finished this section and catching up with the comments here. I agree that Fate was not a fully-rounded character, though I think that his cipher-like quality was used to very good effect, particularly in the disorienting scenes following the boxing match where Fate is inebriated and confused. Casting Fate as a newspaper reporter also fits with his character, putting him in more of a "neutral observer" position than a person with a fully-formed personality. I can see how it didn't work for others, though.

message 10: by Neil (new)

Neil | 306 comments “The girl gave him a piece of paper where someone had written the phone number of a neighbourhood funeral home. “They’ll take care of everything,” she said gravely.”

Does that joke work in the original Spanish, too?

message 11: by Neil (new)

Neil | 306 comments I have just finished this section. I am really loving this book so far.

I said at the end of Part 2 that it felt like a David Lynch movie. This feeling increases tenfold for this part. Imagine my delight on reading

He asked the receptionist to translate the name of the place. The clerk laughed and said it was called Fire, Walk With Me

Followed by a discussion about Lynch.

What makes it feel like a Lynch movie is the way it focuses in on little details. I noted one example to include here

”Don’t be ridiculous, please,” Rosa said, and she fixed her gaze on the Paalen article but all she saw were black ants and then black spiders on a bed of salt. The ants were battling the spiders.

There are many, many more example of our attention being drawn to a small, often unsettling details. Anyone who has watched Lynch films (I have seen them all several times) will recognise this.

I also loved the way we spent pages and pages building up to the big boxing match and then it was all over in a paragraph.

Overall, it feels very dream-like, hallucinatory. Fantastic stuff.

message 12: by Robert (new)

Robert | 426 comments That's a great comparison - 2666 is indeed lynchian with a touch of fincher

message 13: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2625 comments Mod
Thanks Neil - really looking forward to reading what you have to say about the two long Parts.

message 14: by Suki (new)

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 23 comments There are definite similarities between The Stranger and Fate's reaction to the loss of his mother. Both men seem externally unmoved by their loss, but are deeply affected on the inside. The character in Camus is judged harshly for his perceived coldness, but since Fate hasn't even told most people about his loss, he doesn't face the same judgement.

I just finished Part 3, and it struck me how, in every part of the story so far, there is a perfectly ordinary, everyday item in Santa Teresa that really affects each character and throws them off balance.

In Part 1, The Critics, three of the critics are staying in a hotel, and there is something odd in each of their rooms that results in a nightmare. In Espinoza's room, it is a giant painting of a desert with a group of men on horseback. In Norton's room, there are two mirrors hung opposite one another, in which she dreams that she sees herself/not herself. Pelletier's bathroom has a toilet that has a huge chunk missing from it.

In Part 2, we have Amalfitano and the infamous geometry book.

In Part 3, there are two murals that Fate finds really unsettling: the first, while he was still in Detroit, looked like a clock with scenes of people working in Detroit factories in place of numbers. There is a strange character recurring from scene to scene, and in the middle of the mural is the word FEAR. The second mural is in Santa Teresa, on the wall of Charly Cruz's garage. It depicts the Virgin of Guadalupe in a lush landscape full of riches. She has one eye open and one eye closed. When he is fleeing Cruz's house, he notices that the one open eye follows him wherever he goes.

In the beginning, Flores, Cruz, and their entourage seem like fun, genial people. They get darker and more menacing the longer Fate spends time with them. Was Rosa Amalfitano intended as a murder victim? Did Fate get her out of Mexico just in time? Who was after them, and why did her father not answer the phone? Events in Santa Teresa just seem to get darker and darker.

Looking forward to Part 4!

message 15: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2625 comments Mod
Thanks Suki - I look forward to your thoughts on part 4.

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