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2666 by Roberto Bolaño: A reader’s beginning

January 28, 2009

Inspired by the contributors to The Book Bench–described as “loose leafs from the New Yorker Books Department” under the blog’s header–I have decided to delve into the novel 2666 by Roberto Bolaño.

The contributors to The Book Bench were issued the challenge of reading the entirety of 2666–weighing in at nearly one thousand pages in the English translation, much more in the Spanish–in the month of January and to record their experiences in a blog series called National Reading “2666” Month. The various authors of The Book Bench have faithfully chronicled their journeys through the massive work: the good with the bad, the triumph with the shortcomings, and their joy in reading with its drudgery.

In an effort to actually finish the book and remember what was read, I have decided to record my impressions of Bolaño’s last novel.

My initial impression is that the novel is very Latin American. The prose feels similar to that of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, though that may be a result of the translation or any number of factors. I have only read through the first hundred pages or so, but this strikes me as a novel almost specifically for writers and scholars (or at least aspiring scholars). The primary characters of the first section are four German literature professors from different nations specialized on the nebulous author Benno von Archimboldi and the first several dozen pages focus on their scholarly exploits and efforts to popularize the author in the academy.

As I understand, the novel is horrifically violent at times but I have yet to reach that I suppose.

Overall I’m enjoying the read and I only wish there were more hours in the day for pleasure reading.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. kolby permalink
    February 1, 2009 11:18 pm

    Read 2666 over Christmas. I can’t really remember enjoying a book so much and not really being able to pinpoint why. When I finally got to what passes for the end I found my self surprised by how much I wanted there to be another thousand pages. Hope you enjoy it and I look forward to your continued thoughts on it as you read on.


  1. 2666: Finished « the anxiety of influence

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