Reading 2666

 As mentioned earlier, Deirdre Fulton and I are in the thick of Roberto Bolano's 2666, the Moby-Dick of international literary intrigue/mass serial murder novels. Here's some brief commentary on part 4 of the book, "The Part About the Crimes." I'm just about finished with this section - I wrote this in the middle of it - and I'll have more to say about it later. After I take a hot shower to get the grime off of me.

 I’m on page 517 of 2666, in the thick of the fourth section, “The Part About the Crimes.” It’s based upon a plague of unsolved murders in Ciudad Juarez, in Northern Mexico, that began in 1993. Already, there have been dozens of descriptions of raped and murdered young women’s bodies. Bolaño’s prose — elsewhere winningly ramshackle, as if he inserts each detail just as it comes to him in just the words he thought them in — has become cold and terse. As the section wears on and wears you down, though, you begin to sense that Bolaño’s not merely being clinical. In the new issue of the literary journal n+1, the editors write that Bolaño’s work exhibits “a virtually Seinfeldian ban on moral growth or learning;” indeed, it’s not his prerogative to speculate on what these crimes mean or if they can be solved. At this point, they sound more like a psycho-sociological condition than the work of a serial killer or killers. “The Part About the Crimes” is the literature of hopeless, endless devastation: tragic, exhausting, and unstoppable.

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