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2666: A Novel by Roberto Bolaño
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2666: A Novel (original 2004; edition 2009)

by Roberto Bolaño, Natasha Wimmer (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,2971351,150 (4.14)8 / 640
Member:dionnedock
Title:2666: A Novel
Authors:Roberto Bolaño
Other authors:Natasha Wimmer (Translator)
Info:Picador (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 912 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Mexico, Germany, literature, hell

Work details

2666 by Roberto Bolaño (2004)

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English (120)  German (4)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Japanese (1)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (Bokmål) (1)  All languages (136)
Showing 1-5 of 120 (next | show all)
Dear Lord, spare me. Another title from Latin/South America and yet another novel that I could have done without. What the heck is it with that continent that I just can’t abide?

The title either refers to the number of pages you have to wade through to finish this tome or the number of times you have second thoughts about picking this up in the first place. Thankfully, Audible read this to me on my daily commute. If I’d had to actually pick up and get through a physical copy, I don’t think I would have made it. The book is in five lengthy parts which are apparently related although some of the connections are tenuous at best.

Each part starts out reasonably enough but Bolaño is so verbose and the story so rambling that unless you let yourself go with the flow, you’ll be wondering what the heck is going on. Don’t fight it. There’s enough here to keep a reader entertained, but you never get the feeling that you’re in the presence of a literary genius.

The most memorable and controversial part is the one that details the murder of each and every one of 112 women. Almost all of these involve the woman being sexually abused in some way. It’s 200 pages of sheer joy. Now, a writer who wants to give us an idea of how morally debauched society and needs 112 victims to slay in the process seems, to me, to be struggling to get his point across. A skilled writer could do this much more efficiently.

The various supposedly random characters that began the novel are kind of tied together in various relationships to each other by the time you stagger to the end of the fifth section of the novel. By then though, any normal reader simply doesn’t care. It’s only those who have set out from the start with the opinion that this is great writing who think that this is somehow genius. It’s not though. It truly isn’t.

Of course, when I look online, I see tons of praise for 2666. My normal reaction when the world loves a book and I don’t is to conceded that I simply don’t know enough about literature to recognise greatness when it stares me in the face. Even so, with this novel, I have my suspicions that there is a bandwagon here and a lot of people on it.

There is so much truly great literature out there that I honestly don’t think anyone should bother with this book. For those of you pursuing the 1001 Books list, you might as well put this somewhere in the high 900s in the reading order because you could die quite peacefully having never opened its cover. ( )
  arukiyomi | Aug 26, 2016 |
Sometimes you sign on for a scholarly adventure in search of a recluse author and end up drowning in a sea of rape and war crimes. ( )
  xicohtli | Jul 20, 2016 |
If things work out, and sometimes they don't, you're back in the presence of sacred. You burrow your head into your own chest and open your eyes and watch." (That's from page 315. Probably my favorite page in 2666.)

There were times when reading 2666 that I feared it was going to kill my love of reading. Kill it like some death toll statistics. Impersonal and I wasn't there. Somewhere far away, at someone else's hands. I'd forget my longings and not pick up another book. My hands eyes would go empty and I would not remember where to look again. Keyholes blind, doors shut. Almanacs from 2666, 1996 and 1946 were stolen by Biff from Back to the Future for sports games (the athletes will all die when they are forced to take a dive. Maybe the almanacs are fake). It doesn't matter when it is connections faded. This might not make a lot of sense. I have to watch myself in the Charly Cruz method of it depends on the movie and on you sacred night. Opening up yourself and making the small feel big. Restlessness is to be avoided at all costs. If there's not some other place to go to, some one to know... What else is there? That leads to more depressing thoughts and black moods.
I both love and was sorely impatient with this book. It spoke to me in the gutters that I try to avoid. It also spoke to me in some that I avoid too much. I think that's where it wanted to go. I'm undecided about the first kind. Morini from part one with the inexplicable depression sitting in the built up part of London with Liz Norton (I'd sooner forget all about Liz. She was terminally uninteresting to me). Espinoza and Pelletier's loss in the red light district. The realness was in the emptiness, in the void that cannot be filled. I felt nothing when they had sex marathons and day dreamed fantasies of universities paying for conferences and steamy hotel sex and who will the lady choose as if there was an end goal and everything in between was a shadow not made from light. The answer is love didn't bells and trumpets parade to my lips. Bad lonely of "Oh, well co-eds are hot!" and the necessary sharpness of not knowing what you want. A sad sigh did answer, a fear of not being able to move. Boredom, too. I knew how Morini felt when he was paralyzed. It must have been on purpose. Who would care about these guys who breathe from altitudes up in the land of hoisted on their own petards (Bolaño gave them wedgies). I suffered the lonely emptiness for the emptiness that means something wedged (wedgies) with the impatience of profesors who get hit on by co-eds I would walk across the street to avoid. Maybe it shouldn't be filled. It's why I pick up books, I think. It wasn't until the unfilled in lines appeared between other bodies in the other four parts that I began to feel that this book had something to say that was better than a generic big picture. I did feel paralyzed... The whole self steering thing. Maybe I do it too much.

I think it was in the second part that a character notices that a young man prefers the minor works of authors such as A Christmas Carol to the messy battling it out with oneself works like the Pickwick Papers or A Tale of Two Cities (I prefer Bleak House myself. Or Our Mutual Friend. Not that that is important to this review). There is something about forgetting to be restrained. I've been thinking a lot lately about how to navigate between the two kinds of empty. I don't know which has what or the other. I guess I'm bringing this up because I feel 2666 is the one that meant more to the author that he didn't take the step back. It's kind of silly to say that, maybe. The whole book is a step back (hence the often static characters). Maybe I'm not alone in too much eye shutting?

D'oh the afterword quotes that part and it said something about the books that tackled the big issues that affect us all. I prefer (and I'm probably wrong to prefer my own memory but that's how it is) that they battled their own navigation's of emotional and mental pitfalls. Less controlled and more making shadows with all the rest of the people. I'm going to walk across the street to avoid guys who write afterwards afterwords...

I make my battle plans from the spirits of my sleeping soldiers said Napoleon. I like that quote a lot. There's something similar said by a character in the fifth section. What if who is remembered in 2666 is the shadows. If you could tell who the long shadows belong to... The women killed in Santa Teresa. They didn't get to be more than how the love and blow jobs and death of the other people would speak too loudly for their notices. I liked that the Archimiboldians tried to stay out of the wrong kind of shadowy thoughts with their books. Lola with her possibly homosexual and crazy poet. I got something out of this book so I did like it. I still feel restless though. I don't know if in a good way. I feel like I have to watch myself from thinking too long about how empty it felt to read about all of the blow jobs and anal sex and coke snorting and murder (it was probably supposed to be so ridiculous). Sleeping, worst fears and avoiding emptiness. I did get something out of this book and that means there's hope in just doing the allowing something sacred to come in. Yeah, this is a good book.

P.s. I also really liked pages 334-335 (parts three and four were my favorite). The happiness of thinking you getting something and the uneasiness if you don't. Who cares about classic status? That's damned awesome to have that. ( )
  marswins | Jul 10, 2016 |
Book Description
A NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER
New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2008
Time Magazine's Best Book of 2008
Los Angeles Times Best Books of 2008
San Francisco Chronicle's 50 Best Fiction Books of 2008
Seattle Times Best Books of 2008
New York Magazine Top Ten Books of 2008

Three academics on the trail of a reclusive German author; a New York reporter on his first Mexican assignment; a widowed philosopher; a police detective in love with an elusive older woman--these are among the searchers drawn to the border city of Santa Teresa, where over the course of a decade hundreds of women have disappeared.

In the words of The Washington Post, "With 2666, Roberto Bolaño joins the ambitious overachievers of the twentieth-century novel, those like Proust, Musil, Joyce, Gaddis, Pynchon, Fuentes, and Vollmann, who push the novel far past its conventional size and scope to encompass an entire era, deploying encyclopedic knowledge and stylistic verve to offer a grand, if sometimes idiosyncratic, summation of their culture and the novelist's place in it. Bolaño has joined the immortals."

My Review
Roberto Bolano's 2666 is a political masterpiece about the inescapable violence of modern life in Latin America. Written prior to his death from liver failure, Bolano asked his publishers to release it in 5 separate books because it would financially benefit his family. The heirs, however decided otherwise and the book was published in one lengthy volume. The five parts are linked by varying degrees of concern with unsolved murders of upwards of 300 young, poor, mostly uneducated Mexican women.

Part 1 describes a group of four European literary critics, the French Jean-Claude Pelletier, the Italian Piero Morini, the Spaniard Manuel Espinoza and the English woman Liz Norton and their search for the writer, Archimboldi.

Part 2 concentrates on Óscar Amalfitano, a Chilean professor of philosophy who fears Rosa will become another victim of the femicides plaguing the city.

Part 3 follows Oscar Fate, an American journalist from New York who begins to investigate the murders.

Part 4 depicts the police force in their mostly fruitless attempts to solve the crimes, as well as giving clinical descriptions of the circumstances and probable causes of the various homicides.

Part 5 takes us back to Archimboldi and explains his connection to the murderer of these women.

I listened to the audio of this novel and found it very interesting. Part 4 with the descriptions of one murder after another was a bit intense but Bolano is making a statement about how people are not too interested in solving these murders of low income women. I would recommend it to anyone interesting in Latin American literature. ( )
  EadieB | Jun 1, 2016 |
I've finally finished this, and the only reason I did is because I hate giving up on a book.


Nearly nine hundred pages and I couldn't tell you with any certainty what this book was about. There was something about an author and lots of women being murdered in Mexico, a few of which were committed by the author's nephew. Some of the victims in time honoured tradition were murdered by their boyfriend or husband. Most of the murders are never solved, most of the victims are never identified and the local police couldn't care less even when the vicitms are children.


All in all I fail to see, as usual, why the critics have raved about this. I would not recommend it.

( )
1 vote KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 120 (next | show all)
”2066” är en av dessa sällsynta romaner man skulle kunna bosätta sig i.
 
Nu bör alla som inte redan skaffat och läst den ha slängt på sig halsduken i farten, störtat ut i hösten och vara i fullt fläng på väg mot närmaste bokhandel.

(Note: this is not the same review as the other one by the same reviewer. It concerns a different translation.)
added by Jannes | editDagens Nyheter, Jonas Thente (Oct 19, 2010)
 
Lever han upp till sina ambitioner? Tveklöst. ”2066” är en av dessa sällsynta romaner man skulle kunna bosätta sig i.
 
"2666" ist ein kühnes, wildes, hochexperimentelles Ungetüm von einem Roman. In der vorliegenden Form keineswegs perfekt - besonders der zweite, dritte und fünfte Teil haben große Längen -, ist er doch immer noch so ziemlich allem überlegen, was in den letzten Jahren veröffentlicht wurde.
added by lophuels | editFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Daniel Kehlmann (Oct 14, 2010)
 
Theorie her oder hin, "2666" ist ein ungeheuerlicher Wal von einem Roman, er bläst seine Fontänen hoch in den Äther.
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roberto Bolañoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amutio, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carmignani, IlideTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hansen, ChristianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wimmer, NatashaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
An oasis of horror in a desert of boredom. -Charles Baudelaire
Dedication
For Alexandra Bolaño and Lautaro Bolaño
First words
The first time that Jean-Claude Pelletier read Benno von Archimboldi was Christmas 1980, in Paris, when he was nineteen years old and studying German literature.
Quotations
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Disambiguation notice
Volume 1 of the Italian edition of 2666 in two parts: La parte de los críticos; La parte de Amalfitano; La parte de Fate
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312429215, Paperback)

Amazon Best of the Month, November 2008: It was one thing to read Roberto Bolaño's novel The Savage Detectives last year and have your mind thrilled and expanded by a sexy, meandering masterpiece born whole into the English language. It was still another to read it and know, from the advance reports of Spanish readers, that Bolaño's true masterpiece was still to come. And here it is: 2666, the 898-page novel he sprinted to finish before his early death in 2003, again showing Bolaño's mesmerizing ability to spin out tale after tale that balance on the edge between happy-go-lucky hilarity and creeping dread. But where the motion of The Savage Detectives is outward, expanding in wider and wider orbit to collect everything about our lonely world, 2666, while every bit as omnivorous, ratchets relentlessly toward a dark center: the hundreds of mostly unsolved murders of women in the desert borderlands of maquiladoras and la migra in northern Mexico. He takes his time getting there--he tells three often charming book-length tales before arriving at the murders--but when he does, in a brutal and quietly strange landscape where neither David Lynch nor Cormac McCarthy's Anton Chigurh would feel out of place, he writes with a horror that is both haunting and deeply humane. --Tom Nissley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:07 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

An American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student interact in an urban community on the U.S.-Mexico border where hundreds of young factory workers have disappeared.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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