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2666… Phew finally!

In early March I signed up for Lee’s post on 2666 Read-Along. I have got my own copy ready, carrier bag all ready to go. I even print out a Reading plan for the next 8 weeks.

The first three sections, up till The Part about Fate, were good.  My review were positive at mid-point check: 2666-read along week 4. I was still following the train of thought and looking up on the various historical figures mentioned, until I reached The Part about the Crimes and everything fell apart….

I lost count of how many murder cases but The Part about the Crimes was full of women tortured, mutilated and murdered in the most gruesome ways, about 100 cases I gather and I couldn’t bear to read and skimmed a few pages until I reached the early part of The Part about Archimboldi, and I stopped for 8 months before I decided to give it a sprint today and finished it. I hate leaving books unfinished, but this is the longest lapse ever.

What shall I say about the book that has not been said?

The entire book evolves around a mystical figure who is a writer and a poet called Benno Von Archimboldi. A German guy called Hans Reiter seems to be related to this poet and a man named Klaus has been incarcerated in prison in suspect of those horrific murders. Now all I have to do is to find out how all the loose ends are tied up in this story. Except there was no neat ending.

The book has a lot going on. In two pages you can a person life history all laid out or a travel journal all pan in the scale of one page, so Bolano clearly made sure that his characters led a full life and there were many impressive anecdotes, trivials, history and name droppings throughout the book but does it make any point? In my view, no. Does it serves any purpose? No. Did we found out who is the killer? Now I’m going to do the harshest thing I ever did here, that is to reveal a spoiler… NO!!! so what’s the point of reading the book then?!! The answer is: I don’t know.

But if I read the chapter on “Notes to the first edition” by Ignacio Echearria, there is a fear and obsession in Bolaño  that his offspring will not be taken care off once he is dead. So he wrote a long book in the hope that it will get published as five books (to make it more profitable). It also speaks of a writer who is afraid to die without getting the recognition he deserves and the feeling of not doing enough. Among Bolaño  notes for 2666 there appears the single line: “The narrator of 2666 is Arturo Belano.” “for the end of 2666, and that’s it friends. I’ve done it all, I’ve lived it all. If I had the strength, I’d cry. I big you all goodbye, Arturo Belano”

In part I can appreciate that this book is the last one before Bolaño died. I would take my time trying to find the significance of such big book, although at this moment I can’t find any. Judith at Leeswammes has written a Final report on 2666 read along week 12 on the 2666 read-along and some bloggers have also provided links to many other reviews of the book that will make more sense than mine.

I hate the middle and the last bit that doesn’t mean you will too. I’ll have a lie-down after this one and keep The Savage Detective on a backburner before I muster any courage to read any of his books again.


Hardback. Publisher: Picador 2009, originally published 2002; Length: 898 pages; Setting: Mexico, America and Germany.  Source: Own. Finished reading at: 30th December 2011. Translated (I’m sure painstakingly) by Natasha Wimmer)

Roberto Bolano (April 28, 1953 – July 15, 2003)

About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


8 thoughts on “2666… Phew finally!

  1. Wow, credits for you for finishing the book after all! I didn’t like this book, same as you. I only finished it because I organised the read-a-long.

    Posted by Judith / Leeswammes | December 31, 2011, 10:10 am
  2. oh I ve read this and love it in parts ,it is sprawling in places but I d try his other books Jov ,all the best for the new year Jov ,stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | December 31, 2011, 12:53 pm
  3. I decided not to read this book a while back. Reading what you write about the tortures and mutilations, I am glad I didn’t read it – not to mention your overall rating. I am not too keen on books (esp long ones) that don’t have resolutions or are unfocussed – I am afraid I gave up on Proust for this type of reason!

    Posted by Maxine | December 31, 2011, 2:36 pm
    • Maxine,
      I am glad that you are not reading this. I don’t think it’s worth anyone’s time! oh dear Proust is the same? and here I am wanting to read Proust’s work. I’m not keen on cliffhangers as well, only if I knew the book is meant to be part of the series. That’s the way they make money these days!

      Posted by JoV | December 31, 2011, 9:01 pm
  4. Ha ha! If you ever want to see the ultimate pitiful read of 2666, just look through my archives. A few years back, Claire of Kiss A Cloud and I co-hosted a readalong of it and I bailed out after the second or third part. I think I made it through the murder section and then just couldn’t stand it anymore. So kudos to you for making it through the whole thing… I doubt I’ll ever slay that beast.

    Posted by Steph | January 5, 2012, 3:08 am
    • Steph,
      I didn’t know it was hard on you and Claire as well! I’m glad I’m not alone… the murder part killed me…ughhh…help…
      I slay the beast all right, with a lot of pain! 😦

      Posted by JoV | January 5, 2012, 11:00 pm

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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