Bolano’s 2666 quote of the week (8)

Know what? I knew I’d get tired of murders and rapes and detached listing of such. But this morning while flipping through this week’s reading, in which I highlighted not one single line of text as remarkable, NPR had a segment on the murders in Juarez. Not a clever fictionalized version, but a detailing of the gross incompetence, the terror, the pervasive powerlessness, the futility of life there. And I wanted to vomit. I cried for a while, and I realized that, had I not already read the whole Part about the Crimes, I would stop this book right now.

I have finished the section, and did so only to get to Archimboldi. So I’ll post quotes in their appropriate weeks, and emotionally rejoin you when you climb out of Santa Teresa. I offer you no analysis or thoughts this week because this has ceased to be a project I enjoy. I feel like a witness to a crime who has chosen to stay silent and I’m chagrined.

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12 thoughts on “Bolano’s 2666 quote of the week (8)

  1. Haven’t heard the segment, and don’t want to, by the sounds of things. As you probably know, I’m having similar trouble with this book—I’ve been grateful for your posts, because other readers seem to admire 2666 in ways I just can’t. I hope this post doesn’t mean we’ll have to go without you for the remainder of the Part About the Crimes. (But if it does, I understand, and I’ll miss your participation.)

  2. Oh, no, Jeff. I’ll keep posting. And reading what you, Dan, Daryl, David, and others (who, presumably, will also have D as a first initial) have to say. As Dan has mentioned at bleakonomy and in response to your post, I’m relieved to read that others are having a similar experience with the text. I think David did a brilliant job of pointing out what I hadn’t put my finger on…the text is growing increasingly distant. Now, trying to find a reason for that has reengaged me. Because I thought *I* was drifting away, when in fact, the sense of reading about The Crimes from a thinly researched newspaper report several weeks after the fact and paled by other events was making me generally unhappy. But now I’m trying to figure out what purpose the narrative detachment and character superficiality serves and have grown interested again.
    Except I still don’t like 2666. In more than an ‘Avery Edison not falling in love with IJ’ way.

  3. I have moved from “not falling in love” in the direction of “active dislike.” As the writing becomes more and more a form of literary reportage, and it becomes increasingly clear that any real connection to these characters is likely to materialize around about never, my enthusiasm for continuing is waning. *mild spoiler alert* It is not helping that the murders that greeted me as I entered this week’s section were even more grisly than the last.

    • Dan, it would be interesting to see what literary disagreements we have, because I haven’t found a note in one of your posts or comments that I disagree with.
      What’s our next book? I need something to look forward to. I have some Sedaris and some Smith waiting for me, just beckoning me with their willingness to connect to human emotions…
      I’m sure this is an important book, this 2666. I’m glad we are reading it. I won’t stop now. But I’m not recommending it. “Active dislike” is registering on my radar screen, too.

  4. Well, you did like Ulysses, so there’s that. But my guess is that we’re similarly inclined with regard to literature, which is one of the many reasons I keep coming back to Casa de Naptime.

  5. Hey, for “The Sirens” and “Oxen of the Sun,” I can forgive that damn “Circe” section. Or at least ignore it. (But otherwise, I note that you both seem to have awfully good taste in literature. Take it from me.)

    • Oh, gentlemen, I have said it before and I will say it one million times again…I deeply appreciate Ulysses and think it’s one of the greatest literary achievements of all time. But it took a graduate seminar, two reading guides, and a good professor to make me enjoy it. I really enjoyed Circe. Hades was a favorite. Some of the sections were meh and some of them were confounding. I’m not gonna participate in Bloomsday any time soon. Or name the baby Leopold or Molly.
      Is Don Quixote a much better, more enjoyable read of infinite literary importance? You betcha. But I so appreciate the contribution to Modernism and Irish lit…anyway. I don’t necessarily love Ulysses. I love Infinite Jest. I love Don Quixote. I love The Color Purple. I love Their Eyes Were Watching God. I bow to Ulysses, which is a whole different level of forcing myself to read something that’s good for me.
      Don’t know why I needed to write all that…

  6. I hope you know I don’t hold your appreciation for Ulysses against you. Given its reputation, and that I am just Some Guy, I’m willing to concede that maybe I’m on the wrong side of literary opinion on this one.

    And next I hope to read something maybe a wee less bleak. Wanna tackle Tristram Shandy?

  7. Ah, Dan, you’re such an optimist.
    How about something 100 pages long, perhaps by Bill Watterson?
    In all seriousness, have you read Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth? Get thee to a bookstore.

  8. It’s on my (incredibly long) list of Books I’d Like to Buy and Eventually Read, over which the Better Half has varying degrees of veto power.

    Yeah, I figured Tristram Shandy was kind of a stretch. However, I actually enjoyed the handful of pages I read that one time, and I figured if anything would get me to actually read the thing, it would be reading it with you.

    I’m probably going to read some brain candy next. Maybe Vonnegut.

    • I reread Cat’s Cradle late last year, and reread Watership Down early this year. Very satisfying.
      I’m going Zadie Smith and David Sedaris next, I think. Then Cloud Atlas because the recommendations keep pouring in for that.

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