2666 review roundup

My review of Roberto Bolaño’s monumental posthumous novel 2666 should run on PopMatters sometime soon. (Update: here it is.) I won’t offer a detailed assessment of the book here (though I probably will write some more about it once my review has posted). Suffice it to say that I loved the book, and that the current torrent of gushing critical praise for it is fully justified.

At I’ve Been Reading Lately, Levi Stahl has posted a helpful roundup of 2666 reviews. He observes:

Since I finished my review, I’ve read a handful of others, and what’s been most striking is the way they collectively demonstrate the capaciousness of the novel: each emphasizes some different aspect, and hardly any of us draw on more than one or two of the same quotations in the course of describing and appraising the book.

Since I knew as I was working on it that my review would be running later than most, I feared that I might inadvertently latch onto some of the same ideas or passages as another critic whose work would reach the reading public sooner. But as it turns out, I shouldn’t have worried about it. As Stahl points out, there’s so much going on in 2666 that every critic is likely to take something different from it.

2666 by Roberto Bolaño

2666 by Roberto Bolaño

So far, the best of the 2666 reviews I’ve read is probably Jonathan Lethem’s take on it in the New York Times Book Review. I think he comes the closest of any critic I’ve read so far to fully capturing the novel’s most important themes and ideas, and he also does an admirable job of the surprisingly difficult task of simply summarizing the plot.


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