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Book 1 - I enjoyed the highly intellectual yet open sexuality. It made a nice contrast between these extremely educated and rational beings and their ability to act on basic and visceral needs. I like complexity in relationships. Norton is a particularly interesting character, very free yet so understated.
Book 2 - by far my favourite! There is a quality in that book that almost feels like magic realism, which I tend to associate with Latin American literature and totally embrace. The treatise on geometry which helps shape Amalfito's broken life is a wonderful symbol. I would probably need to read it again to get its full impact.
Book 3 - remarkably forgettable! Whereas I remember enjoying reading it, as I put the book down, I couldn't remember what it was about nor even its title!... probably because Fate came to me as a drifter and a parenthesis in an otherwise very long and complicated story.
Book 4 - ooo so much could be said about that one! the murders, the complacency, the vileness of the city and its inhabitants. To me, the murders came more as a disease, the reflection of a degenerating society squashed by squalor, vice and poverty, unable to find beauty or any outlet to make room for happiness. Ultimately it doesn't matter who the killer is, the tentacles of evil are too deep.
Book 5 - I loved Reiter as a young man - an aquatic plant amongst men. That image had so much potential and I'm sorry it wasn't pursued. Nonetheless, I was quite taken by his story and therefore disappointed when the focus turned to Lotte at the end. The ending fell short. While I understand that this "open ending" is intentional, I wish it was more about Reiter and not Klaus... felt very unsatisfied.
Overall, an incredibly rich work: the number of voices and styles are startling. I really did feel transposed to Mexico or Germany in completely different ambiances and epoch. Truly masterful with intriguing multifaceted characters.
I think that I mentioned on one of the other threads that it helped me, when reading 2666, to keep in mind that Bolano wished all 5 books to be published separately. But as it was published posthumously, he had no control over that aspect of the production. But keeping that in mind as I read kept me from trying to keep putting pieces together that had nothing to do with each other.
Yeah, I liked this read. So far, I think this group is batting 1,000!~!~!
I wasn't sure why Book 3 was included, except that maybe it was a way of letting us know that Amalfitano's daughter got out of the city safely (I spent most of Book 2 worrying that she was going to be killed, and I didn't want that to happen to Amalfitano).
Overall, I was impressed. So many different styles!
Ultimately I did really enjoy the whole book. Although Book 4 was difficult to stomach, I only disliked Book 3 and don't really see the point of it. Book 5 was my favorite and did bring it all together very nicely-- I loved the ending. The writing style is unlike anything I've read and I imagine the feel of the book will stay with me for a long time-- not sure about the story itself. A strange read that I will not recommend to many people, but I'm glad I read it. Now onto To the Lighthouse for another group read! I'll join back up with Buddenbrooks.