Tag Archives: Roberto Bolaño

Reading 2666 (or, Why Did I Do This To Myself?)

12 Feb

I am still slogging through 2666, and I keep looking longingly at my beautiful stack of new books that look so modern and shiny and short by comparison (especially Little Hands Clapping by Dan Rhodes). I’m reading other stuff in between, but I feel like my whole reading process has slowed way down, all because of this big fat masterpiece.

I’m still waiting for it to get good (granted, I have about 800 pages to go, so it could happen), but I really don’t think I can take any more dream sequences. It’s not fun when a regular person says “it was like I was in my old school, but it wasn’t a school, y’know?”, and it’s not much easier to follow when Bolaño does it, either. Though I must admit, one of the nightmares really was terrifying (Liz Norton and the mirror, and the person in the mirror is herself, but not herself, y’know?). And I kind of appreciated the fact that after one of the long, meandering, metaphorical passages that the book is full of, a character actually says “Really, I’ve just been talking nonsense.” Yeah, thanks. When do the murders start?

I’m a huge fan of Robertson Davies, so you’d think I’d be up for the wide, sweeping epic thing, the symbolism and the academic squabbling.  Then again, I think I read Fifth Business two or three times before it became my favourite book, and I am not going to read this sucker again.

So why am I forcing myself to finish it? Because a friend lent it to me and sweetly wrote on the inside, “Dear Lija, Hope you enjoy this as much as I did. x”! And if he’s going to be so delightfully casual about enjoying this monster of a book, I sure as hell better at least finish it.