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In this week's Phoenix, Chris Gray and I published our so-far thoughts on Roberto Bolano's last novel, 2666 (no link yet). As promised, here's some additional commentary from me.
I haven’t had time to read much this week, what with all the
drinking and now this terrible sickness (thanks, officemates!). That said, I
did get a chance to start the third section, “The Part About Fate.” It deals,
as far as I can tell, with a journalist who’s been sent to Mexico to cover some type of
sporting event. It’s a bit harder to get into, but CG tells me it’ll get better
when a character from one of the previous sections shows up.
Since I don’t have much to say about the actual content of
the book (too busy wondering if that’s snot or a bloody nose — sorry, gross), allow
me to expound briefly about its packaging. Chris and I have different versions,
both of which were released at the same time. His is a traditional hardcover
tome. Mine is three paperback books, tucked together into a plainish, cardboard
sleeve. The outside of each one is different, and each is eerie in its own way.
(Chris’ version has all the same art, but in different places.) The paperback grouping
puts the first three sections in the first book; the fourth and fifth sections
get their own separate books. Obviously, this serves
to underscore the fact that the novel is, in fact, separate novellas — which
Bolano origninally considered publishing as stand-alone stories. I wonder if
reading them in this broken-down way, rather than all collected between two
covers, has any subconscious effect on the reader.