16 April 2009

The savage reader (2009)

I’ve began reading 2666 after finishing my morning class in Mathematics. I was wary at first. I checked my pulse, and then I finally flipped the first page. There was no other way.



The book is a tease. It knows it is important and yet is humble to concede to imperfection. It started innocently, in much the same way W. G. Sebald constructs his opening sentences. That is, it started coherently before it rambles into a labyrinth.

I am now halfway to the first of the five books, “The Part about the Critics”. This first book knows its boundaries and yet it soars from its solitary confinement. Bolaño’s stylistic tics are distinctive and surprising. The part about the critics is a maelstrom of conferences attended a group of global citizens who are all connected to Archimboldi, the missing novelist at the heart of the book.



I finished the book. There is nothing more to say of it. It is an unfinished book, but I finished it.



I began typing the first of the above entries in earnest. I sought to write a daily account of my impressions of 2666. The structure that I had in mind is something spontaneous, so I followed the narrator’s lead in Bolaño’s earlier novel The Savage Detectives. As you can see, I was not able to follow this plan. I was only able to write 3 entries, the last of which is when I finished the book. I was so absorbed with the book that between the second day and the last day – a span of almost one month – I did not care to write a single word about it. I read the book intermittently, haphazardly. My aim is to finish it as soon as I can. There were days when I have to put it down due to busy schedule. There were also days when I made significant progress and was able to read large blocks of text.

I have read too many reviews of the book after I finished it. Too many for my own good, I think. I thought of resurrecting my initial plan to write about 2666 in journal fashion. But this is no longer a suitable framework for me. One of these dog days I will begin to consolidate my random thoughts and see if anything coherent will come of it. I seem to be still infected by the book's toxic beauty.

(Cover image from covers.fwis.com)

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