Robert Bolaño’s 2666

893 pages are in this book.  That’s probably the most important thing I have to say about it. 

2666 has 3 parts:

  • The 4 international professors who focus their studies on one obscure, German author, Archimboldi.  And then, a second rate Mexican professor who serves as their guide as they try to track down a rumor that Archimboldi had been in Santa Teresa, Mexico.
  • A chronicle of the discovery of the many, many murdered bodies of women left in the desert, on the side of highways, and in the garbage dumps of slums in Santa Teresa.  Most of the murders seem to be the work of a serial killer.  A strange German man is arrested for the murders, but they crimes continue while he’s in jail.
  • The story of Archimboldi from childhood, through his experience as a German soldier in WWII, and then into middle and old age as he writes a slew of novels.
  • (Technically, there are 5 parts.  The Mexican professor is really Part II and then there’s a whole long bit about a journalist who goes to Santa Teresa who gets into the murder story and that’s Part II.)

I did get interested in each of the bits of the story, but there was SO much extra detail about tangential characters that really brought nothing to the story.  Or if it brought something, I’ve got no idea what it was.  In the first part, for example, we get a huge spin-off of story about the Mexican professor’s wife, who had left him.  We learn an insane amount about her and what she does after she leaves her husband.  It could potentially have been interesting, but it ultimately is cut off before anything is resolved and then we’re on to the next random long, uber detailed drawn out story line.

More than anything, I almost feel mad at this book.  It was very slow going and took me so long to read and bloody hell, I’m not even sure that I know what it was about.  Bitter.  And worst of all, it was highly reviewed by proper book critics.  I’m not the most critical or insightful person when it comes to my reading, and mostly I just like a good yarn, but this makes me feel like whadda maroon.

In the last 20 pages – and I do not kid here… this book has 893 pages and it’s only in the very last 20 pages – the 3 stories start to come together.  There’s no conclusion or resolution, mind you.  But at least the connection among the 3 parts has been revealed.

And that’s it.  I can’t muster up anything clever to say about this, so will just leave at this.  Boo.  Hiss.

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