November 20, 2008
"2666" - Part 1, "About The Critics"
Finished the first part of "2666" last night. It's perfect. A superb, beautifully constructed, free-standing short novel. In a foreword at the start of the book, Bolaño's family say that as he was dying the author told them to publish "2666" as five separate books. The implication is that he only suggested this so that the family were financially supported after his death, hence their decision to publish "in a single volume, as he would have done had his illness not taken the gravest course." But I think there's certainly an aesthetic argument for doing it just as he suggested. The ending of "The Part About The Critics" is so uncannily right that it seems a shame to start in on the next volume. I won't be able to stop myself from doing so, but maybe it would have been good if I'd been forced to.
It also makes me wonder why FSG didn't go the whole hog and release the "2666" paperback box set in five books. Now that would have been something... (although, flicking through, I realise it may be because Part 2 is only 65 pages long!)