Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2666 by Roberto Bolano- First Thoughts

So the poll I ran other day about what to read next ended with a tie between Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog and Roberto Bolano's 2666; since 2666 was a gift from my husband (and someone gave him a copy as well) I decided to start reading 2666.

I have the three-volume paperback edition; the first volume is divided into three main sections and I'm about a third of the way through the first part, which translates into about 50 pages. I'm not going to blog the whole book (or maybe I will?) but I felt like writing a little of my first impressions of this very long and highly-lauded book.

Okay, so the first fifty pages. They're very heavy on exposition and very light on dialogue and action per se; the plot concerns four academics, all specialists on a particular and mysterious German writer with an Italian name and a murky background. In this tight-knit group there are three men and one woman, all close friends. As I round page 50 they were embroiled in a love triangle, with two of the men involved with the woman.

Bolano's style so far is matter-of-fact and engrossing enough; right now I'm wondering where it's all going, because it's hard to see it going in this vein for much longer. Bolano is narrating what seems like an extended premise or set-up, accompanied by occasional rambles and asides made of sentences lasting as long as a page. I'm wondering how important the information delivered in these asides will be as we go forward.

Bolano has definitely got me hooked though- I'm interested to stick around for the rest of this ride and can't wait to see where it goes!