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2666 [Unabridged] [Hardcover]

Roberto Bolano
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 Jan 2009
Published for the first time in the UK, this is the epic novel that defined one of Latin America’s greatest writers, and his unique vision of the twentieth century.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1 edition (16 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330447424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330447423
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roberto Bolaño was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He spent much of his adult life in Mexico and in Spain, where he died at the age of fifty. His novel The Savage Detectives was named as one of the ten best books of 2007 by the Washington Post and the New York Times Book Review. His posthumous masterpiece, 2666, won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Product Description


'A masterpiece, the electrifying literary event of the year. 2666: The Best Book of 2008.' -- Time Magazine

'Bolano's last and greatest novel... A giant work, strange and marvellous and impossible funny.' -- LA Times

'Bolano's masterwork... narrative velocity, polyphonic range, inventiveness and bravery.'
-- New York Review of Books

'Bolaño, from Chile, has long been recognised as one of the greats of late 20th- and early 21st-century fiction.' -- Claire Armistead, Literary Editor - The Guardian

'His masterpiece.' -- David Sexton, Literary Editor - The Evening Standard

'Not only a supreme capstone to his own vaulting ambition, but a landmark in what's possible for the novel.' -- The New York Times

'One of the greatest and most distinctive voices in modern fiction.' -- The Sunday Times

'The Chilean is being canonised by critics as the first great writer of this century.' -- Henry Hitchings, The Financial Times

'The most hotly anticipated novel of the new year... A visionary exploration of life and literature.' -- The Guardian

`Four literary scholars search for an elusive author, in a complex and allusive book overflowing with characters and storylines'
-- Sunday Times - 100 Best Holiday Reads


'The Chilean is being canonised by critics as the first great writer of this century.'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bolano's Masterpiece 8 Sep 2009
Bolano's 1100 page (Spanish Edition) magnus opus is mesmerizing and hypnotic; full of magical stories, violence, sex, meta-fiction, and lies--a lot of lies and a great deal of misdirection.

When I finished the novel I started again; it was the only thing to do; there was too much to absorb on the first reading; too many themes--writing, violence, detectives, murder, identity, travel, death, books, libraries, biographies, success, failure, race, fascism, Nazis, and war.

The writing in itself is beautiful, a poet's book, written by a poet, and translated beautifully by Natasha Wimmer.

The story, in a nutshell, is the life story of a German soldier by the name of Hans Reiter, who, in mid-life in the bombed-out city of Cologne, after the Second World War, changes his name to Benno von Archimboldi and writes his first novel. This story seems to be a conflation of several writers' biographies--Heinrich Boll, Gunter Grass, and surely Prince Hermann Ludwig Heinrich von Pückler-Muskau (I don't think you will see this in any other critique of the book but Bolano gives a brilliant clue at the end of the novel and the parallels between Benno and Prince Herman are quite interesting to trace. Why did he chose him? Because he is better remembered for the ice cream named after him than the books he a wrote and the life he lived.)

From this brief synopsis grows a story of the world in the Twentieth Century. It begins with Reiter's birth in Prussia and ends in the present day. The book contains hundreds of characters and their stories, each told by the same voice, a narrator, who Bolano once said was the fictional poet, Arturo Belano, a character in his brilliant novel--"The Savage Detectives.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An angry passionate and eloquent voice 6 Sep 2011
I have just finished this epic work and it will certainly linger in my mind. I think it is tough to begin another book after reading this one. Sometimes the writing has that quality of inspiration that is only rarely encountered - I think of Lolita or The Alexandria Quartet. The section which covers the appalling chaos towards the end of World War II - where people seem more like ghosts. The cumulative effect of the vicious murders each one detailed with a forensic clinical precision - a coldness which lets us see this violence without sensationalism or self dramatisation. Bolano seems to have an inexhaustible invention in the imagery he employs in the descriptive writing - a sentence can often take a startling or surreal turn. I was so riveted that I read sometimes throughout the night. The violence is at times almost unbearable - however love does survive and is indicated with delicacy and charm as in the detective inspector's love for the asylum director or Hans's devotion to Ingeborg. A truly memorable work which I urge others to read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it one go! 20 Sep 2011
Back in spring I had 3 weeks with not an awful lot to do and was up for some meaty fiction, so obviously the thickness of this book on my parents' bookshelf attracted me, as did a previous interest in Latin American fiction. It was a while ago that I read it now but when I think of the time I still feel a kind of excitement, a breathlessness and a feeling like I'm staring into the void. The part about the killings IS horrible, but I think Bolano meant this as a way of making us feel the suffering of all those women killed in Cuidad Juarez instead of just statistics, which justifies it. Reading this part noon and night (partly absorbed, partly wishing it would finish) gave me this impression. I can see that if it was your bedtime reading it might get tedious. So follow the example of the characters in the part about the critics, and read every day till the sun comes up (take a few weeks off work!).

This book really inspired in me a new love of life and art, I would go so far as to say it actually changed my life. It makes Garcia Marquez and the magic realism I used to so enjoy look childish!
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68 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heart of Corruption 14 Feb 2009
By Nigel Seel VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
On a recent trip I passed through Manchester airport and was amazed to see copies of 2666 piled high in the bookstore at the departure lounge. Who did they think the target audience was for this lengthy literary novel?

Part 1, The Part About The Critics, tells a mostly self-contained story about a quartet of academics who specialise in the obscure German author Benno von Archimboldi. Each of the four gets their own back-story, and we follow their quest to find the author, a trail which leads to the Mexican border town of Santa Teresa (based on Ciudad Juarez). The story has highly stylised sections (do academics ever beat up taxi drivers?) and appears to end inconclusively - perhaps a meditation on the strange paths of love, or the fickle ways of women? Or Santa Teresa's powers of deflection.

At this point of my journey, I'm wondering where this story gets us, noting that not a whole lot has happened, and that I'm only on page 159 of an 893 page novel.

I grit my teeth and continue.

The shorter Part 2, The Part About Amalfitano, takes a minor character from the first part - a Chilean literary academic at the University of Santa Teresa and his daughter Rosa - and fills out their back story, mostly concerning the runaway wife, Lola.

Part 3, The Part About Fate, describes an American reporter, Oscar Fate who is sent to cover a boxing match in Santa Teresa. While there, he gets involved with the local narcos and meets Rosa from part 2. Oscar by some miracle manages to escape Santa Teresa with his life. In this part we begin to circle around the increasing numbers of sexually-violated and murdered young women found in deserted parking lots, isolated ravines, abandoned buildings and the desert: crimes which the police seem unable to solve.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish
There are great writers like Steinbeck, Scherfig, Kirk and Hamsun and then there are
writers who write page after page after page....of rubbish!
Published 5 months ago by Stig Bjarne Hansen
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult read, but worth it if you're into this sort of thing
Five short mystery novels in a single book, shifting between Western Europe and a Mexican border town. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Patrick CT
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterwork of literary skill that's also thoroughly entertaining.
2666 is a novel in five parts which, although separate from each other, weave themselves together to create a truly dazzling literary experience. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Sera69
5.0 out of 5 stars 2666
What's in a name? While a rose by any other name may well smell as sweet, the title of a book is most frequently inextricably linked to the nature and quality of the story... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Erin Britton
5.0 out of 5 stars He went for it
Not straightforward, not, in Bolano's own words, a "perfect miniature", not always satisfying, sometimes very disturbing. Read more
Published 10 months ago by T. William
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple review
I won't waste too much time reviewing this novel as it seems to me most of it's fame will forever be the argument between the people who claim to 'get it' and those who claim there... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bascule
2.0 out of 5 stars Cult crap
This is without doubt the most over-rated and over-hyped piece of 'literature' I have ever wasted good reading time on. Read more
Published 11 months ago by allantom
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb tour de force
Where do you start to review a novel of 893 pages? Well, let's begin by saying that reading Bolano is like viewing an exquisite painting; a triptych by Hieronymous Bosch, perhaps. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Dwight Braxton
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it
A friend of mine recommended 2666 as the best book he had read. At a number of points throughout this book I thought 'he is crazy' but in many many others I thought 'he is spot... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Cletus
2.0 out of 5 stars Remorseless and unedifying
Part 1 sees a menage a trois et demi (one is wheelchair bound) of literary academics across four European countries pursuing an elusive German author. Read more
Published on 20 July 2012 by Genome
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