2666 by Roberto Bolano

After nearly 900 pages I’m a bit wiped out from it. In five sections that Bolano originally asked to be issued as seperate works, believing it was the best way to provide for his family after his death, his estate decided to publish it as Bolano originally intended. And I think the world is the better for it. A long, loose piece with sections that run loosely into eachother before skipping off on their own seperate narratives it is one of the large, sloppy works that at one point in the story Bolano writes that even “clerks don’t bother with any more, preferring the small masterpieces” rather than works where the writer tries something truly difficult and great.

At times it does become a bit tedious. The section dedicated to the killings of women in Santa Teresa account after account of the bodies of women being found is tempting to begin skimming. And, sadly, the final section focusing on the hub around which the majority of the novel rotates, Benno von Archimboli, suffers from similar moments where you just want to skip ahead a few pages to where the novel is moving again.

But in the end it is a daring piece of work. Whether it will hold up over time or be forgotten is anyone’s guess. But Bolano certainly too his shot at a long masterpiece.









2666 by Roberto Bolano


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