Sunday, November 09, 2008

Lethem Review

Jonathan Lethem Reviews Bolaño's 2666

From the Sunday Times Book Review:
“2666” is the permanently mysterious title of a Bolaño manuscript rescued from his desk after his passing, the primary effort of the last five years of his life. The book was published posthumously in Spanish in 2004 to tremendous acclaim, after what appears to have been a bit of dithering over Bolaño’s final intentions — a small result of which is that its English translation (by Natasha Wimmer, the indefatigable translator of “The Savage Detectives”) has been bracketed by two faintly defensive statements justifying the book’s present form. They needn’t have bothered. “2666” is as consummate a performance as any 900-page novel dare hope to be: Bolaño won the race to the finish line in writing what he plainly intended, in his self-interrogating way, as a master statement. Indeed, he produced not only a supreme capstone to his own vaulting ambition, but a landmark in what’s possible for the novel as a form in our increasingly, and terrifyingly, post-national world. “The Savage Detectives” looks positively hermetic beside it.
--Czobit

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