Saturday, March 14, 2009

2666- Finished Volume 3


It's been several weeks since I last picked up Roberto Bolano's opus 2666- at a certain point around the middle of Volume 3 I got a little bored and put it aside. However, after hearing in the news this week that scholars believe they have found another volume of the book among the authors papers, I thought I should take another stab at it.

The third volume is called "The Part About Fate," Fate being Oscar Fate, an African-American reporter sent to Santa Teresa to cover a boxing match for a Harlem paper. True to form, Bolano takes a long time with Fate's backstory before Fate arrives in Mexico, and Bolano has Fate circle around the story of the multiple killings for a while before settling in on it near the end of the volume.

Fate meets a Mexican reporter researching the killings and, intrigued, is drawn in. Along the way he meets Rosa Amalfitano, the daughter of the academic from Volume Two. Critics have suggested that this volume is the weakest overall of the five making up the book; I found it to be actually rather more engaging than the first two. All three sections so far take the approach of densely detailing the backgrounds of the protagonists who are only tangentially involved in the story of the killings, but Oscar's section strikes me as the most plot-oriented of the first three and Oscar himself the most likable character.

So three down, two (or three?) to go, and though I was thinking of giving up on this one, I think I'll stick with it a little longer.