some wayback for wednesday. Kansas 2008 with my homey Peanut.
perusing my archive her and this happened a year ago today.
Last saturday, i was out driving around some parts of Durham i have not been to before. I was way up Roxboro and needed food. I saw a place I had heard of El Cuscatleco— Salvadoran and Mexican food. Figured what the hell.
So i go in and sit at this booth and immediately notice, in the next booth are two middle aged latinas. They were absolutely wasted— at 1:00 in the afternoon— eating huge bowls of seafood soup and drinking margaritas and coronas.
I ordered an unsweet tea and a Salvadoran platter. I was sitting there zoning out…..
“hola, Hola, HOLA, HOLA!” I looked up and both of them were looking right at me and motioned me over to their booth. I got up and sat down there and they started speaking to me in spanish that managed to be really fast and really loud and really slurred at the same time.
Despite growing up a few hours from mexico and watching a lot of spanish Tv over the years when drinking, my functional spanish doesn’t allow for much more than ordering beer/food and asking if there’s a place I can pee. They pretty quickly realized this, and Marina (the one on the left), who knows a little bit of english, became the de facto translatress du jour. Rosa Maria (the one on the right) knows zero english, but wanted me to know I looked like a mexican movie star. They invited me to switch to their booth and eat there, so i did. I ended up hanging out with them for about 2 and a half hours. Had a blast, even though communication was kinda impaired by my lack of spanish, their lack of english, and their decided surplus of alcohol.
When I told them it was time for me to go, they jumped up and as I slid over to get out of my booth they managed to both more or less plop down on my lap and started kissing me on the cheeks and generally hanging all over me.
They tried to get me to stay by offering to buy me beer, but I declined- accusing them of trying to get me liquored up. They laughed and I left. It was a pretty cool afternoon
2666 - Roberto Bolaño
Soooo I was in this tumblr book club where we read 2666 together. I was waiting and waiting for people to post their thoughts… apparently it happened a month ago. No idea how I missed that.
Anyway, reviews from me months after I finished a book are borderline pointless. If I don’t take notes, and I didn’t, my memory of the story is all over the place. Even when it comes to some of my favourite reads.
(you should hear me when I meet someone who enjoyed The Brothers Karamazov. I get all excited and try and talk to them about it and it goes a little something like this; Oh man wasn’t that one brother, like, totally, like mean and stuff? But the other brother was super nice! The third was medium. I liked that they had trains in the story. I like trains.)
This book. Ugh. This book. Great and bad at the same time.
It’s split up into five parts that Bolaño had originally requested be five novels. I wish so much, and wished while reading, that they had done this instead of publishing it as one book. Then I could have read the first part by itself and just been amazed. The first part of this book, titled “The Part About the Critics”, is terrific. Great story, surprisingly hilarious, and has insightful things to say about love, relationships and academic conferences.
The second part was kind of dull, but had a great side story about one of the characters hanging a book on Geometry in his backyard on a clothesline so the book could learn something about real life.
The third part was ok, has some intense scenes and had some boxing scenes soooo that’s a positive. Also had one of the worst paragraphs I’ve ever read. No idea what it said anymore, all I know is I wrote (in pencil) in the library’s copy of this book, “weak” with an arrow pointing to the paragraph.
The fourth part, oooooh the fourth part. Horrible. Bolaño basically takes you through 2000 deaths, some just as a mention but many he describes in great detail. Young women, young girls, being raped, stabbed and cut up. Over and over. Page after page. It was far too much.
I get it, Bolano wants these deaths to weigh on you while you read them over and over, as it would have weighed on the people of this city where all these killings were happening. But it crossed a line to me and became crude. And boring to be honest (how many times can you read about the same kind of death over and over? Or read about a character’s back story knowing she would be raped and murdered once you turned the page).
Nevertheless I pushed through it. Pretty much because I told my tumblr homies I would.
Part five was much better and reminded me how much I liked the first part of this book. The character of Benno von Archimboldi, who connects a lot of the stories, is really well done. And it was fun to see some of the story lines finally come together.
Overall, would I recommend this book to someone? No. I wouldn’t go out of my way to discourage it though as I’d be interested in hearing what they thought.
Would I read Roberto Bolaño again? I’m reading By Night In Chile right now, so yes. I loved part one of this book. Loved it. So I’m giving Bolaño another try (well, with a book that is only 130 pages) and so far it has been really good.
Hello all. I get the sense that this tumblr is kind of dead. There hasn’t been a lot of action of late or in general. Except for my man Dave. I’ve decided to post my review of 2666 on my blog if any are interested. It’s not all that good and there isn’t a ton of spoilers. If you’re still reading 2666 I wish you all luck. It’s grind like none other.
So this is basically how I feel as I come to the end of Bolano’s 2666, you know…except for the glory or enormous sense of accomplishment.
(By the way, Wow. Inspiring.)
I still can’t believe I’ve finished this book. It felt like the kind of book that would never end. Then all of a sudden it just ends.
Dear tumblr 2666 book club, how would you like the book review process to go. This blog was being quiet to begin with. Which is a little bit of a surprise considering the magnitude of this novel. Anyways do you think we should post our reviews when finished and then at will or would you like the reviews to go up all on the same day when everyone is finished?
“ He asked if the girl who was blind in one eye had married. They said no. That night he went to see her, without changing his clothes or washing, despite his mother’s pleas that he at least shave. When the girl saw him standing at the door to her house, she recognized him instantly. The one-legged man saw her too, looking out the window, and he raised a hand in a formal salute, even a stiff salute, though it could also have been interpreted as a way of saying such is life. From that moment on he told whoever would listen that in his town everyone was blind and the one-eyed girl was queen. ”
Robert Bolano, 2666
In celebration of finally finishing Part 4 (and it really picking up in the last 50 pages) I thought I’d post my favourite reading song at the moment. It’s hard to find good tunes that get you in the reading vibe, no?