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2666 [Roberto Bolano] Hardcover – 2009

230 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus (2009)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002LTGIW2
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,206,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author of 2666 and many other acclaimed works, Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) was born in Santiago, Chile, and later lived in Mexico, Paris, and Spain. He has been acclaimed "by far the most exciting writer to come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time" (Ilan Stavans, The Los Angeles Times)," and as "the real thing and the rarest" (Susan Sontag). Among his many prizes are the extremely prestigious Herralde de Novela Award and the Premio Rómulo Gallegos. He was widely considered to be the greatest Latin American writer of his generation. He wrote nine novels, two story collections, and five books of poetry, before dying in July 2003 at the age of 50. Chris Andrews has won the TLS Valle Inclán Prize and the PEN Translation Prize for his Bolaño translations.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

289 of 330 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Balbach on November 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`2666` is a writers novel, best appreciated by academics (or so inclined) and other writers, often commenting on itself, the craft of writing and the creative process. For the average reader the ending lacks coherence, seemingly 900 pages of often depressing anecdotal tangents about death. It's a generous work in that regard, there are 100s of stories, within stories, most of them entertaining and worth reading, but characteristic of Bolano, they don't really "end" in any traditionally satisfying way - one doesn't read this novel to find out what happens - although paradoxically, mystery is what drives the book forward.

Bolano successfully breaks one of the basic rules of fiction writing - rather than showing what happens, he tells what happens, like a journalist. Thus he is able to say as much in one paragraph that others take in a chapter. Bolano says as much in 900 pages that might normally take 2500. He does not use line breaks and quotes for dialog (except in book 5), so there are often long blocks of text with no white space - it's a 900 page novel of high word count, but smooth reading. Ironically I never felt I was wasting my time, as if every detail mattered, even though I guess none of it did, all of it did.

The novel is certainly an investment of time and energy. I would recommend it to anyone interested in European avant-garde literature, Latin American literature, literature in translation and a sprawling kind of dreamy (strange) ambiguous work resistant to classification and open to interpretations.
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297 of 341 people found the following review helpful By a little fool on January 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I, like most other readers, was first intrigued by the reviews of this book. From The New York Times and The New Yorker all the way down to my local paper, everyone had something to say about it. Dreamlike, epic, worldly, etc.

I don't normally purchase books, but I purchased this one.

I adored the first part, the second part, the last part, but the third part left me cold and confused and the fourth part, as you may have gathered thus far, is a collage of police response, political response, and personal responses to the hundreds of murders on the Mexico/US border.

I felt as though Bolano was trying to weave together his ability to write the personal narrative of a few characters, his ability to write almost fairy tale-like history, and an objective, raw account of reality. Instead of weaving them together, though, he placed them side-by-side, a sort of sampler plate of Bolano's abilities. It meant that most readers will most likely enjoy only some of the five sections.

His knowledge and perspective are astounding. The prose, when meant to be, is unique, intriguing, whimsical, or completely emotionless and succinct. Definitely written for a modern audience, as, unlike past authors, Bolano doesn't stretch anything beyond necessity, doesn't linger on any side story unless it's something the reader will inevitably feel to be vital. He keeps up a swift pace.

I recommend reading it. I recommend it for the pithy little quotations, for the little things that tie each part together, details from one clarifying mysteries from another, for the feeling that you're being taken on a crazy journey across multiple continents throughout the twentieth century, for the fact that you, as a reader, are bound to adore at least one of the five sections.

It's not perfect. We know that Bolano didn't have the opportunity to give it the time it deserved. But it's worth your time.
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119 of 138 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Schmidt on November 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
According to Mrs. Bubis, wife of publisher Mr. Bubis, one of the only people alive that knew Benno von Archimboldi, "how well anyone could really know of another person's work?"

Reading "2666" by Roberto Bolaño, I feel the same way. It has been quite a journey for the English reader with a talent of his kind. From "By Night in Chile" to the chilling "Romantic Dogs," (which I finished a week before this novel) to "2666," one of Bolaño's "longer" works, preceded by the fantastic "Savage Detectives."

Much has been written (and will be) concerning this novel (see the great reviews, beginning with the one in the New York Times). In short, and without giving too much away, the story revolves around five intervals, which Bolano wanted to be released separately (in 5 year increments), involving a cast of characters as thick as the book itself. Part 1 (About the Critics) concerns four critics: Jean-Claude Pelletier from France, Manuel Espinoza from Spain, Piero Morini of Italy, and Liz Norton who, through their love of Archimboldi, come together and discuss and revel in the mysterious nature of the man. Part 2 (About Amalfitano) and Part 3 (About Fate) concerns a Chilean college professor, Amalfitano, and his dealings with his daughter and a strange geometry books; and an African-American, Quincy Williams aka Fate, who takes a assignment in Mexico covering a boxing match, which soon gets derailed due to his interest in the murders of the women detailed in the next chapter. Part 4 (About the Crimes) concerns the cornerstone of the novel, the parts tying all these people together: the murders of women, detailed by Bolaño, in the city of Santa Teresa (Cuidad Juárez) in the Sonora Desert in Northern Mexico on the US border.
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