2666 (en español)


Cinco pequeñas novelas, cuidadosamente hilvanadas, integran esta gran novela, con una impresionante maraña de destinos, personajes y líneas argumentales y genéricas. La figura de Von Archimbaldi, un enigmático escritor alemán, es el hilo secreto que cose entre sí las cinco partes de la novela. Cuatro profesores de literatura, de distintas naciones europeas, estudian todo lo relacionado con el escritor alemán, candidato al Nobel. Sus vidas transcurren entre congresos, estudios de la obra del autor y un complicado ...
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Cinco pequeñas novelas, cuidadosamente hilvanadas, integran esta gran novela, con una impresionante maraña de destinos, personajes y líneas argumentales y genéricas. La figura de Von Archimbaldi, un enigmático escritor alemán, es el hilo secreto que cose entre sí las cinco partes de la novela. Cuatro profesores de literatura, de distintas naciones europeas, estudian todo lo relacionado con el escritor alemán, candidato al Nobel. Sus vidas transcurren entre congresos, estudios de la obra del autor y un complicado entramado amoroso que implica hasta un triángulo o cuadrángulo amoroso, cuyo vértice fundamental es la mujer del grupo, la profesora Norton. Siguiendo los pasos de Von Archimboldi, los profesores llegan a Santa Teresa, una ciudad mexicana de frontera, donde suceden centenares de asesinatos y violaciones a mujeres jóvenes. El autor realiza, de esta forma, una minuciosa reconstrucción del infierno de los famosos asesinatos en Ciudad Juárez -aquí Santa Teresa-, como un rompecabezas de historias.
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Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Lethem
2666 is as consummate a performance as any 900-page novel dare hope to be: Bolano won the race to the finish line in writing what he plainly intended, in his self-interrogating way, as a master statement. Indeed, he produced not only a supreme capstone to his own vaulting ambition, but a landmark in what's possible for the novel as a form in our increasingly, and terrifyingly, post-national world…By writing across the grain of his doubts about what literature can do, how much it can discover or dare pronounce the names of our world's disasters, Bolano has proven it can do anything, and for an instant, at least, given a name to the unnamable.
—The New York Times Book Review
Janet Maslin
…think of David Lynch, Marcel Duchamp (both explicitly invoked here) and the Bob Dylan of "Highway 61 Revisited," all at the peak of their lucid yet hallucinatory powers. Bolano's references were sufficiently global to encompass all that, and to interweave both stuffy academia and tawdry gumshoe fiction into this book's monumentally inclusive mix.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Last year's The Savage Detectives by the late Chilean-Mexican novelist Bolaño (1953-2003) garnered extraordinary sales and critical plaudits for a complex novel in translation, and quickly became the object of a literary cult. This brilliant behemoth is grander in scope, ambition and sheer page count, and translator Wimmer has again done a masterful job.

The novel is divided into five parts (Bolaño originally imagined it being published as five books) and begins with the adventures and love affairs of a small group of scholars dedicated to the work of Benno von Archimboldi, a reclusive German novelist. They trace the writer to the Mexican border town of Santa Teresa (read: Juarez), but there the trail runs dry, and it isn't until the final section that readers learn about Benno and why he went to Santa Teresa. The heart of the novel comes in the three middle parts: in "The Part About Amalfitano," a professor from Spain moves to Santa Teresa with his beautiful daughter, Rosa, and begins to hear voices. "The Part About Fate," the novel's weakest section, concerns Quincy "Fate" Williams, a black American reporter who is sent to Santa Teresa to cover a prizefight and ends up rescuing Rosa from her gun-toting ex-boyfriend. "The Part About the Crimes," the longest and most haunting section, operates on a number of levels: it is a tormented catalogue of women murdered and raped in Santa Teresa; a panorama of the power system that is either covering up for the real criminals with its implausible story that the crimes were all connected to a German national, or too incompetent to find them (or maybe both); and it is a collection of the stories of journalists, cops,murderers, vengeful husbands, prisoners and tourists, among others, presided over by an old woman seer.

It is safe to predict that no novel this year will have as powerful an effect on the reader as this one. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews

Life and art, death and transfiguration reverberate with protean intensity in the late (1953–2003) Chilean author's final work: a mystery and quest novel of unparalleled richness.

Published posthumously in a single volume, despite its author's instruction that it appear as five distinct novels, it's a symphonic envisioning of moral and societal collapse, which begins with a mordantly amusing account ("The Part About the Critics") of the efforts of four literary scholars to discover the obscured personal history and unknown present whereabouts of German novelist Benno von Archimboldi, an itinerant recluse rumored to be a likely Nobel laureate. Their searches lead them to northern Mexico, in a desert area notorious for the unsolved murders of hundreds of Mexican women presumably seeking freedom by crossing the U.S. border. In the novel's second book, a Spanish academic (Amalfitano) now living in Mexico fears a similar fate threatens his beautiful daughter Rosa. It's followed by the story of a black American journalist whom Rosa encounters, in a subplot only imperfectly related to the main narrative. Then, in "The Part About the Crimes," the stories of the murdered women and various people in their lives (which echo much of the content of Bola-o's other late mega-novel The Savage Detectives) lead to a police investigation that gradually focuses on the fugitive Archimboldi. Finally, "The Part About Archimboldi" introduces the figure of Hans Reiter, an artistically inclined young German growing up in Hitler's shadow, living what amounts to an allegorical representation of German culture in extremis, and experiencing transformations that will send him halfway around the world; bringhim literary success, consuming love and intolerable loss; and culminate in a destiny best understood by Reiter's weary, similarly bereaved and burdened sister Lotte: "He's stopped existing." Bola-o's gripping, increasingly astonishing fiction echoes the world-encompassing masterpieces of Stendhal, Mann, Grass, Pynchon and Garc'a Márquez, in a consummate display of literary virtuosity powered by an emotional thrust that can rip your heart out.

Unquestionably the finest novel of the present century—and we may be saying the same thing 92 years from now.

From the Publisher
“Extraña y maravillosa, divertida hasta lo imposible, cargada de melancolía y horror”.
Los Angeles Times

“El Gabriel García Márquez de nuestro tiempo: un hombre políticamente comprometido, formalmente osado y salvajemente imaginativo.... Bolaño se ha convertido en uno de los inmortales”.
The Washington Post

“Una obra de un poder y complejidad devastadores, una declaración final digna de un maestro”. 
Boston Globe

“El logro más audaz de Bolaño…. Una obra atrevida como pocas. Da al traste con la frontera entre el afán lúdico y la seriedad”. 
Financial Times

“Una obra maestra... el acontecimiento literario más electrizante del año”.

“Una aventura épica, desquiciante y cautivadora…”
The New York Times

Library Journal
★ 07/01/2014
Four European scholars, interested in obscure novelist Benno von Archimboldi's works, look for him in the northern Mexico border city Santa Teresa.
The Barnes & Noble Review
Roberto Bolaño is a master of digression. Among the countless stories that he tells in 2666, his 900-page cinderblock of a novel, there is not one that feels incomplete. (Considering that Bolaño died in 2003 before he finished the final book of the five-part sequence, that's quite a feat.) In his hands, narrative tangents, followed to their logical (or illogical, as the case may be) conclusions, fill in the spaces opened up by the boundlessly layered story lines.

To call 2666 ambitious is to understate its scale. Comprising five almost autonomous books, the novel is a chronicle of the 20th century, unafraid to confront its more gruesome turns in its sweep across history. The binding link, insofar as there is one, is the Mexican border town of Santa Teresa, modeled on Ciudad Juárez, where for the better part of the 1990s there were hundreds of brutal murders, with the bodies of young women turning up in dumps and deserts at the city's margin. The fourth, and longest, of the books takes up the matter of the murders directly, taking readers sequentially through each of the killings, along with the sexual abuse, mutilation, and police incompetence that accompanied them. They vary in their specifics, but the broad template is the same. "In September, the body of Ana Muñoz Sanjuán was found behind some trash cans on Calle Javier Paredes, between Colonia Félix Gómez and Colonia Centro. The body was completely naked and showed evidence of strangulation and rape, which would later be confirmed by the medical examiner," Bolaño writes with the blank neutrality of a police report.

He treads a difficult line in his account of the murders, explicit in his brutality without letting his descriptions slip into the exploitative. In each case, he is matter-of-fact, but the sheer accumulation of grisly detail can be difficult to stomach. For the most part, the crimes remain unsolved, and in the instances that the police do track down the killer, it turns out not to be the sought-after serial murderer but another case of domestic violence in this grim, industrial borderland. These murders, for Bolaño, contain all the violence of Latin America's colonial legacy, and the willingness of its witnesses to lay aside their own horror. Bolaño is at once oblique and microscopically precise in laying his themes on the table.

With Santa Teresa as a loose backdrop, 2666 radiates outward in all directions. The first book traces four obsessive European academics as their quest to find Archimboldi, the hermetic novelist at the center of their scholarly enterprise, leads them to Mexico. The second picks up with Amalfitano, a melancholic scholar whom they meet in their travels, as he begins to lose hold of his sanity, while the third, and in a way the most isolated part, tracks Harlem-based journalist Oscar Fate as he covers a boxing match in Santa Teresa. And finally the fifth, after "The Part About the Crimes," returns to Archimboldi.

Bolaño, with 2666, seems to have taken up the banner of postmodern genre pastiche: his account of Archimboldi's journey from rural Prussia to the Eastern Front of WWII to literary fame has all the trappings of the traditional bildungsroman, while the Oscar Fate section fits squarely alongside the gruffly laconic noir of American pulp. What separates Bolaño's efforts to catalogue the 20th century in letters is the utter authenticity of his effort; it never feels as if he is playing mimic. Or as Amalfitano would have it, literature is at its best when it doesn't suppress its own anarchy, "when the great masters struggle against that something, that something that terrifies us all, that something that cows us and spurs us on, amid blood and mortal wounds and stench." Bolaño would seem to agree.

As in The Savage Detectives, Bolaño's much-acclaimed 2007 novel, the question of how life comes to bear on writing, and writing on life, is never far from the author's reach. Like the visceral realist poets of that novel, 2666's quartet of critics -- Pelletier, Espinoza, Norton, and Morini -- structure their entire existence around the pursuit of a phantom author. The mysterious Archimboldi, in turn, becomes immersed in the literary life almost by accident, clinging to the notebook of a Ukrainian poet that he finds by chance in the village where his unit is seeking shelter. For Archimboldi, Ansky's words are consuming, a lifeline amidst the hopelessness of war: "He no longer thought about suicide, because he was already dead. In the mornings the first thing he did was read Ansky's notebook, opening it at random." For the authors among Bolaño 's cast, the imaginative possibilities of literature lend structure to an existence that seems otherwise without it -- the very texture of life is reflected in the mode of its telling.

But more than the fixation on the literary life shared by the characters of 2666, what ties the novel together is the predominance of an unimaginable violence. The murders in Santa Teresa are Bolaño 's avenue into a century defined by the scope of the damage it wrought. What Archimboldi witnesses on the battlefield and channels into art is no better or worse than the savagery dispassionately reported by the Mexican police. In one of the novel's most unsettling scenes, he encounters a corps of Romanian deserters who have killed and crucified their own general. "He wasn't a bad sort," one of the Romanians observes of his commander, the arbitrariness of their cruelty even more stark. And then there are the smaller brutalities. The distinction between sex and violence, as envisioned by Bolaño, can be troublingly porous, and the predation inherent in the Santa Teresa crimes casts its pall over the novel's sexual politics. Even in the comparatively airy first section, the romantic entanglements of the four scholars take on a twinge of the sinister when Pelletier and Espinoza find a sexual rival in a friend of Liz Norton's (with whom both, alternately, are sleeping).

The topography of violence may be what connects the disparate pieces of Bolaño's rangy novel, but that does not mean -- lest this seem too bleak to be readable -- that there is no beauty in its midst. His prose, even as it flits across genres, never loses its undercurrent of humanity; his characters are never hollow vessels for his thematic aims. As Liz Norton muses, "For her, reading was linked to pleasure, not to knowledge or enigmas or constructions or verbal labyrinths..." In 2666, however, we get both: there is brilliance in its mystery, and in all the surprising ways that its manifold layers become whole. --Amelia Atlas

Amelia Atlas's reviews have appeared in the New York Sun, 02138, and the Harvard Book Review. She is currently based in Berlin.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9788433973184
  • Publisher: Anagrama
  • Publication date: 3/15/2008
  • Language: Spanish
  • Edition description: Spanish-language Edition
  • Pages: 1125
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Roberto Bolaño nació en Santiago, Chile, en 1953. Pasó gran parte de su vida en México y en España, donde murió a la edad de cincuenta años. Es autor de numerosas obras de ficción, no ficción y poesía. Su libro Los detectives salvajes ganó el Premio Rómulo Gallegos de Novela y fue uno de los Mejores Libros del 2007 para The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times y The New York Times Book Review. En 2008, recibió póstumamente el Premio de Ficción del National Book Critics Circle por 2666.
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Read an Excerpt


A Novel

By Roberto Bolaño
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC
Copyright © 2008

Roberto Bolaño
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-374-10014-8

Chapter One The first time that Jean-Claude Pelletier read Benno von Archimboldi was Christmas 1980, in Paris, when he was nineteen years old and studying German literature. The book in question was D'Arsonval. The young Pelletier didn't realize at the time that the novel was part of a trilogy (made up of the English themed The Garden and the Polish-themed The Leather Mask, together with the clearly French-themed D'Arsonval), but this ignorance or lapse of bibliographical lacuna, attributable only to his extreme youth, did nothing to diminish the wonder and admiration that the novel stirred in him.

From that day on (or from the early morning hours when he concluded his maiden reading) he became an enthusiastic Archimboldian and set out on a quest to find more works by the author. This was no easy task. Getting hold of books by Benno von Archimboldi in the 1980s, even in Paris, was an effort not lacking in all kinds of difficulties. Almost no reference to Archimboldi could be found in the university's German department. Pelletier's professors had never heard of him. One said he thought he recognized the name. Ten minutes later, to Pelletier's outrage (and horror), he realized that the person his professor had in mind was the Italian painter, regarding whom he soon revealed himself to be equally ignorant.

Pelletier wrote to the Hamburg publishing house that had published D'Arsonval and received no response. He also scoured the few German bookstores he could find in Paris. The name Archimboldi appeared in a dictionary of German literature and in a Belgian magazine devoted-whether as a joke or seriously, he never knew-to the literature of Prussia. In 1981, he made a trip to Bavaria with three friends from the German department, and there, in a little bookstore in Munich, on Voralmstrasse, he found two other books: the slim volume titled Mitzi's Treasure, less than one hundred pages long, and the aforementioned English novel, The Garden.

Reading these two novels only reinforced the opinion he'd already formed of Archimboldi. In 1983, at the age of twenty-two, he undertook the task of translating D'Arsonval. No one asked him to do it. At the time, there was no French publishing house interested in publishing the German author with the funny name. Essentially Pelletier set out to translate the book because he liked it, and because he enjoyed the work, although it also occurred to him that he could submit the translation, prefaced with a study of the Archimboldian oeuvre, as his thesis, and-why not?-as the foundation of his future dissertation.

He completed the final draft of the translation in 1984, and a Paris publishing house, after some inconclusive and contradictory readings, accepted it and published Archimboldi. Though the novel seemed destined from the start not to sell more than a thousand copies, the first printing of three thousand was exhausted after a coupld of contradictory, positive, even effusive reviews, opening the door for the second, third, and fourth printings.


Excerpted from 2666 by Roberto Bolaño Copyright © 2008 by Roberto Bolaño. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2010

    Una obra maestra

    Roberto Bolano es el escritor de la lengua espanola de nuestra generacion por exelencia. Fue uno de los grandes poetas del siglo XXI apesar de su muerte temprana. Este libro es muestra de su genialidad y habilidad con las letras y un libro que algun dia se convertira en un clasico de la literatura, no solo de nuestro idioma, sino mundial.

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    Posted January 12, 2010

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