Working my way through Roberto Bolano's opus 2666, I finished the first part ("The Part About the Critics") and I have to admit I'm kind of glad it's over. Bolano's style here, heavy on exposition, has made it hard for me to connect with the characters, but knowing that the book is about to switch gears- and move away from them- helps. About halfway through this first part I was getting somewhat discouraged and went on Amazon to re-read the plot summary; doing this helped put the whole thing into perspective and remind me that this first part is just the first part, and that it is going somewhere and I should stick around cause it's only going to get better.
The first part raised a lot of questions- who is Amalfitano, is the German writer Archimboldi really in this Mexican border town of Santa Teresa, and why? And what does the critics' love triangle have to do with it- if anything? I have a feeling that the love triangle, which along with the search for Archimboldi, has dominated this first part, is probably tangential to the overall plot and I have a feeling that this first part is only introducing us to the themes and motifs we'll see over and over again- violence, sex, art, and the murders of young women in the town. The murders are mentioned only obliquely in the first part, but in such a way as to ratchet up the tension level immediately, especially as one of the academics has taken up with a young Mexican woman.
So we shall see. I'll keep you posted!