Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bolano's 2666

Picked up the book in India. (That is what I remember now. Memory can be elusive). Had bought this one a while ago...the year it was released I guess. However, it lay there, big  and fat, in the collection that I left back in India (read and unread) that I couldn't carry back or wouldn't ship to myself across the seas.

So instead of reading the newly bought books, I picked this one up and read through most of it pretty quickly through year end holidays. The book is engaging read, and unlike many that I read - reminding me of Garcia Marquez at times, but much more direct. It is 900 pages long - five books in all, common theme/ characters. Three of them were good fun and almost page turning reads. Fourth one became a very difficult read - for the violence it depicts. So much so, that after I finished fourth, the book lay untouched for last six months since coming back from India. I tried reading/ re-reading but lost interest.

But I had to finish book five since the secret of how those different books link together is in the fifth one, and you don't leave engaging stories unfinished.  Recently, I picked it up, and I was delighted. I thought book five was the most poetic of all.

Starting with critics, book authors, artists, journalists and lots of killed women - 2666 is a mixture of fiction and reality-  and since it talks about an author and his works, it is sort of meta fiction as well. The aspects it touches are unbound. Reminding me of a more language constrained DFW at times, and in themes, as people point out - Pynchon (and I agree from what I know of him from Lot 49).  It goes from different parts of Europe and different times of Europe (war times to current times) and a bit of North Am to end up in Mexico of late last century or earlier this century in all five of its books. Some people say it is one of the greatest novels of recent times...I can just recommend. If you can go through the detailed reportage of scores of women (or was than hundreds) found dead in a town in Mexico over a decade, everything else in the book calls out for reading.

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