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 used to be greeted throughout Europe and Latin the US as his maximum success, surpassing even his earlier 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 scholar and her widowed, mentally volatile father. Their lives intersect within the city sprawl of SantaTeresa—a fictional Ju?rez—on the U.S.-Mexico border, the place thousands of younger manufacturing unit staff, within the novel as in existence, have disappeared.
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Additional info for 2666: A Novel
He pulled a book out of his jacket pocket and began to read as he regained his strength. Soon he heard a voice saying hello, then the noise a heavy body makes when it drops to a wooden bench. He returned the greeting. The stranger had straw-colored hair, graying and dirty, and must have weighed at least two hundred and fifty pounds. They sat a moment looking at each other and the stranger asked whether he was a foreigner. Morini said he was Italian. The stranger wanted to know whether he lived in London, and then what the book he was reading was called.
Pelletier told Espinoza a joke in German and Espinoza laughed. In fact, they both laughed, wrapped up in the waves or whatever it was that linked their voices and ears across the dark fields and the wind and the snow of the Pyrenees and the rivers and the lonely roads and the separate and interminable suburbs surrounding Paris and Madrid. The second conversation, radically longer than the first, was a conversation between friends doing their best to clear up any murky points they might have overlooked, a conversation that refused to become technical or logistical and instead touched on subjects connected only tenuously to Norton, subjects that had nothing to do with surges of emotion, subjects easy to broach and then drop when they wished to return to the main subject, Liz Norton, whom, by the time the second call was nearing its close, both had recognized not as the Fury who destroyed their friendship, black clad with bloodstained wings, nor as Hecate, who began as an au pair, caring for children, and ended up learning witchcraft and turning herself into an animal, but as the angel who had fortified their friendship, forcibly shown them what they’d known all along, what they’d assumed all along, which was that they were civilized beings, beings capable of noble sentiments, not two dumb beasts debased by routine and regular sedentary work, no, that night Pelletier and Espinoza discovered that they were generous, so generous that if they’d been together they’d have felt the need to go out and celebrate, dazzled by the shine of their own virtue, a shine that might not last (since virtue, once recognized in a flash, has no shine and makes its home in a dark cave amid cave dwellers, some dangerous indeed), and for lack of celebration or revelry they hailed this virtue with an unspoken promise of eternal friendship, and sealed the vow, after they hung up their respective phones in their respective apartments crammed with books, by sipping whiskey with supreme slowness and watching the night outside their windows, maybe seeking unconsciously what the Swabian had sought outside the widow’s window in vain.
He had talked to her just four days before and told her he was planning to come to London, a city he hadn’t visited in a long time. Norton was delighted and invited him to stay with her, but Morini lied, saying he’d already made a reservation at a hotel. When he landed at Gatwick, Norton was waiting for him. That day they had breakfast together, in a restaurant near Morini’s hotel, and that night they had dinner in Norton’s apartment. During dinner, bland but praised politely by Morini, they talked about Archimboldi, about his growing renown and the innumerable gaps in his story that remained to be filled, but later, over dessert, the conversation took a more personal turn, tending more toward reminiscence, and until three in the morning, when they called a cab and Norton helped Morini into her building’s old elevator, then down a flight of six steps, everything was, as the Italian reviewed it in his mind, much more pleasant than he’d expected.
2666: A Novel by Roberto Bolaño