2666: A Novel by Roberto Bolaño

By Roberto Bolaño

THE  POSTHUMOUS MASTERWORK FROM “ONE OF THE GREATEST AND MOST INFLUENTIAL MODERN WRITERS” (JAMES WOOD, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW)  Composed within the final years of Roberto Bola?o’s lifestyles, 2666 was once greeted throughout Europe and Latin the United States as his maximum fulfillment, surpassing even his past paintings in its strangeness, attractiveness, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters comprises teachers and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage pupil and her widowed, mentally risky father. Their lives intersect within the city sprawl of SantaTeresa—a fictional Ju?rez—on the U.S.-Mexico border, the place hundreds and hundreds of younger manufacturing facility staff, within the novel as in existence, have disappeared.

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The second, however, involves an impious and sacrilegous adventure: the cattle of Zeus or another powerful god are grazing peacefully on the island of the Sun when they wake the powerful appetite of Eurylochus, so that with clever words he cajoles his friends to kill the cattle and prepare a feast, which angers Zeus or whichever god it is no end, who curses Eurylochus for putting on airs and presuming to be enlightened or atheistic or Promethean, since the god in question is more incensed by Eurylochus’s attitude, by the dialectic of his hunger, than by the act itself of eating the cattle, and because of this act, or because of the feast, the ship that bears Eurylochus capsizes and all the sailors die, which was what Pelletier and Espinoza believed would happen to Morini, not in a conscious way, of course, but in a kind of disjointed or instinctual way, a dark thought in the form of a microscopic sign throbbing in a dark and microscopic part of the two friends’ souls.

The lady asked whether his was a noble name, of the Prussian landed gentry. Archimboldi replied that it probably was. Then the lady murmured the name Benno von Archimboldi, as if biting a gold coin to test it. Immediately she said it didn’t sound familiar and she mentioned a few other names, to see whether Archimboldi recognized them. He said he didn’t, all he’d known of Prussia were its forests. “And yet your name is of Italian origin,” said the lady. “French,” replied Archimboldi. ” At this, the lady laughed.

They had tea at Norton’s apartment. Only then did she begin to talk about Espinoza and Pelletier, but casually, as if the matter was too familiar to be worthy of interest or discussion with Morini (whom she had noticed was upset, although she was careful not to pry, knowing there was rarely anything soothing about being pestered with questions), and not even something she cared to discuss herself. It was a very pleasant afternoon. From his armchair, Morini admired Norton’s sitting room—her books and her framed prints hanging on white walls, her mysterious photographs and souvenirs, her preferences expressed in things as simple as the choice of furniture, which was tasteful, comfortable, and modest, and even in the sliver of tree-lined street that she surely saw each morning before she left the apartment—and he began to feel good, as if he were swaddled in these various manifestations of his friend, as if they were also an expression of affirmation, the words of which he might not understand but that brought him comfort nevertheless.

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