2666 – Roberto Bolaño

2666

Occasionally a book comes along whose peculiar title is the sole purpose of the purchase. Immediately commencing on the initial pages, it plunges you in a labyrinth of complete brouhaha enmeshing every demented string whilst deciphering normalization of reasoning. And as the book concludes, you emerge with a smile of gratification as you have been just mesmerized by the aura of a genius.

2666 is a metaphysical necropolis of the cavernously hidden trepidation and disparagement that frequently seek the light of retrieval in the arroyo of darkness. Bolano dallied with his liver transplant prospect for the completion of 2666. Sadly, this became his posthumously published work. Boasting about it to be “the fattest novel in the world”, Bolano certainly fashioned a laborious mass of 900-pages of surreal inquisition about the “menacing of evil”.

Evil is unspectacular and always human. And shares our bed and eats at our own table.

Highly inspired on the thesis of Melville’s Moby Dick, this allegorical saga sections into five parts (originally to be published singly).The volume opens into an description of four European lecturers energetic on their exploration for a Pynchon-like German writer Benno von Archimboldi as much as they liked to bed each other. Their search transports them to an immigrant town of Santa Teresa in Mexico. While only two of them (Pelletier & Espinoza) hear about the nightmarish slaughters, their sexual escapades and affluence insulates them from the callous realities. As the narration twists through muddled delirium of murky shadows, the crimes are brought closer to susceptible locals. A Chilean professor Amalfitano who left Spain to acquire a teaching post in the University of Santa Teresa is a nervous wreck. He deludes himself with auditory hallucinations and fears of going deranged with the prediction of his only daughter becoming a victim of the ongoing femicide. As you enter the third segment (‘The Part about Fate’), the felonies spill open wrecking the mindset of an American sports reporter – Oscar Fate. His brush with the nightmarish elements of the city peels off his judiciousness making him flee out of town. Finally, ‘The Part about Crime’ spews out the dreadful venom opening in 1993 with a corpse of a 13-yr old girl and concludes with a dastardly accumulation of 108 corpses by the 1997. The concluding chapter on Archimboldi depicts the convoluted passage as he fights for the Third Reich on the Eastern European front to his early writing career amid the malice and impunity of Holocaust ruins and bringing a rational closure to the double-crossing enigma when he travels to Santa Teresa in his twilight years.

Evil is omnipresent; excavating perished horrors. The underbelly throbbing with utmost mockery of human survival and perversion of power reeks out of Santa Teresa. A fictitious substitute for Ciudad Juárez (factual town in Northern Mexico), Bolano delineates a gruesome picture of violent female homicides that swept the town since 1993. Statistics of the victimology constitutes to nearly 5,000 female corpses with most of the homicide cases remaining unsolved. From ignorance to apprehension to being an active spectator of the gruesome murders, Bolano illustrates the frequency of crime touching the lives of each interlinked protagonists amusingly underplaying the reality.

“About the women who’ve been killed”, said Chucho Flores glumly.
“The numbers are up. Every so often the reporters talk about it. People talk about it too and the story grows like a snowball until the sun comes out and the whole damn ball melts and everybody forget about it and back to work. People have no time for in this shithole”.

Resilience to the flourishing corrupted environment is prevalent primarily in the third world cities. When life encumbers from daily struggles for food and shelter amid fighting against the totalitarian implementations, ignorance becomes the greatest mode of defense until panic engulfs one’s genuine emotions.

Bolano encompasses themes of passion, power, corruption, and savagery regaling Archimboldi’s active part in the War brimming with accounts of barbarism, rape, mutilation and treason. In the terrains of Germany when a man kills his wife while the government turns a blind eye, corresponds to the catastrophic finicky state of the Mexican authorities failing to decipher the ongoing femicide. 2666 resurrects ghosts of the past reliving the nightmarish conundrum in the core of human souls sinking to the bed of an ocean where the cerulean abyss becomes a metaphor of lunacy and defeat;anything but tranquil.

Speculation on the devilish date of 2666 which appears nowhere in the book is a contested ambiguity. The closest one can come in decoding the label is in reference to the biblical Exodus from Egypta vital moment of spiritual redemption, was supposed to have taken place 2,666 years after the Creation.
“The erection of the Tabernacle(tent of meeting),God’s dwelling-place among his people, occurs in the year 2666 after God creates the world, two-thirds of the way through a four thousand year era which culminates in or around 164 BC, the year of the rededication of the Second Temple.”

On the contrary, Santa Teresa harshly conflicts the sanctified significance as it resembles a cosmic cemetery of unearthed spirits. Or perhaps, the ‘Tabernacle’ implies the human body to be a temporary abode of the soul. Either way it is a canopy in which everything has the clarity of water.5/5*****

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