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2018 Book Discussions > 2666 - (5) The Part About Archimboldi (spoilers allowed) (Mar 2018)

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message 1: by Hugh (last edited Mar 22, 2018 02:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2716 comments Mod
This section covers a lot of ground! I have only just finished and need a bit of time to think. Note that I have now created a separate whole book spoiler thread.


Hugh (bodachliath) | 2716 comments Mod
Reiter/Archimboldi seems to be something of a picaresque hero, popping up in whatever European contexts suit Bolaño's plan - his discovery of Ansky's notebooks conveniently allows life in both of 20th Century Europe's main totalitarian states to be discussed. Once again there are many digressions, minor characters and intriguing cultural references - it is certainly worth looking up the painter Arcimboldo.


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2354 comments This was my favorite part. Reiter/Archimboldi was a fascinating character who encountered some very interesting people (and writings) as his unpredictable life moved along. One thing that puzzled me was the timing of his visit to Santa Teresa. I may well have missed something, but it seemed to me that the critics were there before Archimboldi even went.


Hugh (bodachliath) | 2716 comments Mod
I wonder whether the timings are even consistent, and whether this is one of the aspects that Bolaño may have regarded as incomplete. My initial reading was that the end of part 5 must come before the visit to Santa Teresa in part 1. Was Rosa Amolfitano mentioned in part 1? If not, part 3 could end before parts 4 and 5 too. And is Klaus Haas's trial in part 5 before or after part 4 ends?


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2354 comments I think Part 2 took place before Part 1, as Amalfitano, in Part 2, hangs the book that the critics see on the clothesline and that has been there a long time.

On a quick review of Part 1, I see no mention of Rosa so I am thinking she is no longer in Santa Teresa. My quick review also revealed that the dates mentioned could well have Part 1 occurring after Part 5 ends, so my conviction that Part 1 occurred before Part 5 is significantly weaked!


Hugh (bodachliath) | 2716 comments Mod
So the end of Part 1 could be the last in chronological order (does 2 3 4 5 1 make sense?). I didn't check the dates.


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2354 comments That works for me. I must say thought that I think Part 5 was my favorite because it came at the end. As they are lined up in the book, the end of each makes the next part seem logical. I wonder if I would have the same feeling if I read them in a different order?


message 8: by Neil (last edited Apr 12, 2018 02:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Neil | 309 comments There's a useful attempt at a timeline here and it is colour-coded to show the parts overlapping (which is why I've included the link rather than copy/paste the text): https://ijustreadaboutthat.wordpress....

Scroll to the bottom for the timeline, although the whole post is probably worth a read.

The responses at the very bottom include some comments on "madness" that are worth thinking about. What do you reckon?


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2354 comments Neil, the timeline is fascination and is consistent with my original suspicion that Archimboldi had not been in Santa Teresa when the critics went there looking for him.

"Madness" is considered in Part 2 -- perhaps Amalfitano's wife, the poet Amalfitano's wife was obsessed with, and Amalfitano himself. What does it mean? I don't know.


message 10: by Hugh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2716 comments Mod
Thanks for that link Neil - some people have too much time on their hands! I have shared the link in the Whole book thread.


message 11: by Neil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Neil | 309 comments Thanks, Hugh. Being retired has its advantages (not found any disadvantages yet!).


message 12: by Neil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Neil | 309 comments LindaJ^ wrote: "Neil, the timeline is fascination and is consistent with my original suspicion that Archimboldi had not been in Santa Teresa when the critics went there looking for him.

"Madness" is considered in..."


Are you sure? It ends with the critics heading to Santa Teresa three days behind Archimboldi. I took that to mean he was there when they arrived. Am I misreading?


message 13: by Hugh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2716 comments Mod
Neil wrote: "Thanks, Hugh. Being retired has its advantages (not found any disadvantages yet!)."
I meant the reviewer who created the timeline, not you!


message 14: by Neil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Neil | 309 comments Ah - ok - thought you meant my time digging around looking for things! Understand now.


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2354 comments Neil wrote: "Are you sure? It ends with the critics heading to Santa Teresa three days behind Archimboldi. I took that to mean he was there when they arrived. Am I misreading?"

Neil, it is me, not you, who misread. I have no idea why I thought the timeline had the critics arriving in 1997. Madness perhaps?


message 16: by Neil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Neil | 309 comments I finished this part (and, therefore, the book, of course) now. Once again, I really liked it, as with all the other parts. I liked the way it provide a link via the Reiter/Haas relationship to the previous part. I found Reiter's story very absorbing. Wonderful stuff.


message 17: by Suki (new) - rated it 4 stars

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 23 comments Neil wrote: "There's a useful attempt at a timeline here and it is colour-coded to show the parts overlapping (which is why I've included the link rather than copy/paste the text): https://ijustreadaboutthat.wo..."

Thanks for posting this link with the timeline, Neil. It helped me put a few things into a clearer perspective.


message 18: by Suki (new) - rated it 4 stars

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 23 comments I had to take a bit of a breather after the catalog of murder in Part 4. I had a hard time getting into Part 5 until somewhere around the middle where Reiter/Archimboldi begins writing, and then it all started to come together for me.


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 245 comments I had some of this same falling off after part 4. I don't know if it was the effect of the murder list, or if Archimboldi's story was less appealing to me, or if it was a casualty of Bolaño hurrying to finish before he died, but this was my least favorite section.


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