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2666 cover art

2666

By: Roberto Bolaño
Narrated by: John Lee,Armando Durán,G. Valmont Thomas,Scott Brick,Grover Gardner
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Summary

National Book Critics Circle, Fiction, 2009

Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño’s life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of Santa Teresa—a fictional Juárez—on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared.

©2004 the heirs of Roberto Bolaño (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

"...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." (Janet Maslin, New York Times)
"It is safe to predict that no novel this year will have as powerful an effect on the reader as this one." ( Publishers Weekly, starred review)
This winner of the 2008 National Book Critics' Circle Award for Fiction is the master work from "one of the greatest and most influential modern writers" (James Wood, New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about 2666

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

peaks and troughs

The narrators do a good job of recounting the story. Their delivery was professional and easy on the ear, though I can't stand the way Scott Brick delivers his narratives (Frank Herbert's Helstrom's Hive put me off him for life) but in the recounting of part 4 - the crimes - he is probably well suited to evoking a sense of Bolano's Schadenfreude at the rapes and murders that he describes ad nauseum. Listening to the relentless drone I wondered if Bolano's purpose in this section of the book wasn't his own perverse pleasure but was designed to evoke a feeling of loathing for humanity from his readers - total immersion in the sense of futility of any thought of redemption for human kind. Like saying humanity has certain self-images (intelligent, sophisticated and civilised) that 'it' is constantly reinforcing to make us feel that we are not the base animals that we evolved from but that we still carry within us such instincts; and here is the evidence, and here and here and here, etc. We are either the deer or we are the tiger and either way we die eventually and usually with pain and suffering. In any case I thought section 4 laboured the point. Part 5 wasn't exactly a tea party either taking place as it does during the brutality of Europe in WWII.

Its a long haul book but worth the journey if you don't mind getting dirty and roughing it a bit along the way.

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14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not for the faint heart. Left an impression

What did you like most about 2666?

This is so tricky. There is brilliance throughout, along with occasional tedium, and horror. Its how it comes together as a work afterwards, and on reflection. It makes other novels look a bit light.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I loved Benno Von-Archimboldi. What a brilliant name to choose for yourself, and what a confluence of ideas and themes this character represents, both to the reader, and to several of the other characters in the book.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The final chapter detailing how Haans Richter becomes Benno Von Archimboldi was very satisfying, or at least as close to that as this book comes!

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Didn't make me laugh, didn't make me cry, but left me feeling contemplative for a good long time. (Still having the effect a few days after finishing.) Has also left my next book feeling really simplistic and light, Its like 2666 has changed the rules in my head for what a book should be.

Any additional comments?

There is a part of this novel which is hard to get through, The part about the murders. It is relentless, and depressing, and is the under-current to about 2/3rds of the book. It deadened me to the emotion of what was being described because i just couldn't allow myself to feel the horror for the length of time it was being described. It is an essential part of the book, and there is no getting away from it, and its link to real life events, and real life and very dark human psychology.Basically be warned! not a happy novel.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Don't be tempted unless you liked Ulysses

Not sure how or why I got to the end.......... I wasn't interested, I didn't get it. Of the books that I have listened to, only Ulysses has been similar but much worse!

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best post 2000 fiction written. Amazing achievemen

Best post 2000 fiction written. Amazing achievement. Rereading becomes nearly an act of obligation as the initial stories starts to unfold after first reading.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Went in blind and was confused lol

I saw some guys saying this was like Ulysses (which I love) so was very keen for this. This is nothing like Ulysses at all, go to in search of lost time of Finnegans wake for that. This book is definitely good, I like how it’s about how humans are inherently bad, and you are a bad person for reading this book as he died and you are drawn to it because the guy died so it must be like some profound truth. I think this is the main weakness, as dying doesn’t make something good, and it makes this book ‘good’ unintentionally. I saw David lynch comparison but Mulholland drive is a masterpiece because it’s intentional, this unfortunately isn’t. Decent book, for me I enjoy it by not enjoying it so then I don’t feel like a creep, I think my rating is fair :)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

An examplary personification of the work of Roberto Bolaño. 40 hours is a mammoth of a listen but it adds to the task. I was disappointed with the narrators of part 3 and in parts of 4. However the prose and plot shines true. A very good listen.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Brilliant in part.

The part about the crimes was most vital and compelling, and also revealing about the true nature of violent reality for this community and it's many victims. The part about Archimboldi compliments and answers questions about the crimes... I may read these two sections again in the future, but the detached style of characterisation and staccato descriptions drained enjoyment from this book.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Masterpiece

Masterpiece well written and well read. One of the best books ive ever read. 5star

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A weird sprawling masterpiece

I dont believe in being reductive about novels like this but for me more than anything what it's about is the second world war, and the legacy of the second world war, and even the very long term legacy of the second world war.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

meandering and long but interesting

went on long bike rides to finish this, got lost in number of female deaths happening in Mexico but was good to see threads coming together at end.

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