Monday, November 9, 2009

Roberto Bolano's 2666: A Review, Part I

by the late Chilean-Mexican writer Roberto Bolano** is, without a doubt, this amazing author's masterpiece and a worthy culmination to his incredible literary career. 2666: A Novel consists of five parts, and the author hoped that they would be published as separate novels. His heirs, however, decided to publish it as one large novel, which I think was the right decision, even though it contradicted the writer's wishes. The novel is huge, so I am going to review each of its part separately.

I. The Part about the Critics

From the moment I started reading the opening part of 2666: A Novel, I literally started moaning with pleasure. Bolano's language is mesmerizing and I would even say scrumptious. This writer's skill in constructing simply delicious sentences is incredible. This part of the novel is definitely not to be gulped down in one seating. It should be savored during long winter nights, appreciated and tasted word by word as if it were a delicious and rare wine.

"The Part about the Critics" is especially near and dear to my heart because it presents a beautiful parody of academic life. The main characters are four literary critics who are obsessed with the work of the same writer. Bolano's knowledge of the little weirdnesses, obsessions and peculiarities that drive an academic's life is profound and he makes great use of this knowledge in order to poke gentle fun at us. In their search for an elusive author in whose work they all specialize, three of the four critics find themselves in Santa Teresa, a small Mexican bordertown.There, they are confronted with the unusual for them reality of Mexico and find out about the feminicide that is taking place in Mexican bordertowns.

** Unfortunately, this site's format doesn't allow me to use diacritics, so I have to write the Chilean writer's last name in this weird way. Believe me, it annoys me more than I can say.


rise said...

Nice review. The comparison to sipping wine is very appropriate. I hope you like the rest of the parts as I did.

I myself type the "ñ" in a word processing program and copy-paste it here to get the desired "Bolaño."

Clarissa said...

Thank you!

I tried doing what you suggest but the blog wouldn't allow me to publish the post if it had any characters it considers extraneous. :-(