2666 Review at Seminary Co-Op

Quarterly Conversation contributor Levi Stahl has published a review of 2666, and it’s a pretty good one.

2666 is another iteration of Bolaño’s increasingly baroque,
cryptic, and mystical personal vision of the world, revealed obliquely
by his recurrent symbols, images, and tropes. There is something
secret, horrible, and cosmic afoot, centered around Santa Teresa (and
possibly culminating in the mystical year of the book’s title, a date
that is referred to in passing in The Savage Detectives as
well). We can at most glimpse it, in those uncanny moments when the
world seems wrong—”The University of Santa Teresa was like a cemetery
that suddenly begins to think, in vain”—or when the characters succumb
to dark dreams, like the vague horror animating this dream from one of
the critics:

When Pelletier opened his eyes he thought about the
bathers’ behavior. It was clear they were waiting for something, but
you couldn’t say there was anything desperate in their waiting. Every
once in a while they’d simply look more alert, their eyes scanning the
horizon for a second or two, and then they would once again become part
of the flow of time on the beach, fluidly, without a moment of

Perhaps this whole universe is a nightmare—a worker in the
maquiladoras of Santa Teresa imagines the world as “an endless
shipwreck,” while Bolaño describes the city’s policemen as “soldiers
trapped in a time warp who march over and over again to the same
defeat”—and 2666 is when we will awake? Will we awake to a greater
horror, or to some ultimate expiation? Or maybe there is no answer as
clear as that: if there is a system underlying Bolaño’s fictional
universe, in which characters and symbols recur across multiple
volumes, it is one that we can only intuit, one whose meaning seems
always to be turning the corner just ahead of us. The hermetic
qualities of Bolaño’s work bear some of the false coherence of the
insane; perhaps this novel’s meaning is ultimately singular, fully
penetrable only by the author himself.

Recent Posts

Criticism Isn't Free

CR is dedicated to thoughtful, in-depth criticism without regard to what's commercially appealing. It takes tens of hours each month to provide this. Please help make this sort of writing sustainable, either with a subscription or a one-time donation. Thank you!

You could also purchase one of my acclaimed ebooks.

Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

Shop though these links = Support this site

Copyright © 2018. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.