National Book Critics Circle, Fiction, 2009
Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño’s life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of Santa Teresa—a fictional Juárez—on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared.
"...think of David Lynch, Marcel Duchamp (both explicitly invoked here) and the Bob Dylan of
Highway 61 Revisited, all at the peak of their lucid yet hallucinatory powers." (Janet Maslin,
New York Times)
"It is safe to predict that no novel this year will have as powerful an effect on the reader as this one." ( Publishers Weekly, starred review)
This winner of the 2008 National Book Critics' Circle Award for Fiction is the master work from "one of the greatest and most influential modern writers" (James Wood, New York Times Book Review)
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peaks and troughs
Not for the faint heart. Left an impression
This is so tricky. There is brilliance throughout, along with occasional tedium, and horror. Its how it comes together as a work afterwards, and on reflection. It makes other novels look a bit light.
I loved Benno Von-Archimboldi. What a brilliant name to choose for yourself, and what a confluence of ideas and themes this character represents, both to the reader, and to several of the other characters in the book.
The final chapter detailing how Haans Richter becomes Benno Von Archimboldi was very satisfying, or at least as close to that as this book comes!
Didn't make me laugh, didn't make me cry, but left me feeling contemplative for a good long time. (Still having the effect a few days after finishing.) Has also left my next book feeling really simplistic and light, Its like 2666 has changed the rules in my head for what a book should be.
There is a part of this novel which is hard to get through, The part about the murders. It is relentless, and depressing, and is the under-current to about 2/3rds of the book. It deadened me to the emotion of what was being described because i just couldn't allow myself to feel the horror for the length of time it was being described. It is an essential part of the book, and there is no getting away from it, and its link to real life events, and real life and very dark human psychology.Basically be warned! not a happy novel.