- 256 pages and 129 “paragraph breaks”.
- As in part 2 The Part about Almafitano, there are no quotation marks!
- Suddenly pp 695 – 699 quotation marks (dialogue Reiter with Ingeborg)
Timeline: 1920 – 2001
Characters: Hans Reiter ( aka Archimboldi) reclusive German author
This part is so different from Part 4. It is far more focused on one individual, Hans Reiter (who we know from Part One is Archimboldi).
Part 4 is a rite-of-passage book. Bolaño deposits us in the 1920s, in the imagination of a German boy named Hans Reiter who is obsessed with seaweed, the sea and the feeling of calm he experiences underwater.
Reiter’s journeys as a soldier in the second world war and is exposed to the horrors of the Holocaust. Zeller tells Hans Reiter (pp 750-767) his anguish about carrying uit his duties for the Nazi war machine: “ …dispose of them. Zeller replied: “..I’d like to receive the order in writing.” “Don’t be naïve, said the voice without a hint of arrogance, “these orders are never issued in writing.”
Place: Germany – Italy – Mexico
- Makes you think about Bolano’s death and what he was trying to tell us….
“..death in itself is only an illusion under permanent contstruction, that in reality didn’t exist.”
- On page 784 one can read why Hans Reiter changed his name to Benno von Archimboldi.
- On page 809 there is a discussion with his publisher about the name!
- Here is an example of Bolano’s wonderful writing:
- “…Every minor work has a secret author and every secret author is, by definition, a writer of masterpieces.”
Voice of Bolano:
On page 714 Balano tells us what a real writer is:
- Know how to listen
- Known when to act
- Be reasonably enterprising and reasonably learned
- Be cool-headed
- Have commen sense
- Don’t talk to loud or start polemics
- Be pleasant
- Know how to make gratuitous enemies
- Know how to keep your voice down
On page 722 Balano tells us what a real writer fears is:
- Fear of being no good
- Fear of being overlooked
- Fear that one’s efforts and strivings will come to nothing
- Fear of the step that leaves no trace
- Fear of dining alone and unnoticed
- Fear of going unrecognized
- Fear of failure
- Fear of making a spectacle of oneself
- Fear of forever dwelling in the hell of bad writers
- I have spent many moments thinking about this book. What is it worth? How many stars?
- 1st reaction: 1 star it was difficult to swallow, sometimes dry and other times bitter.
- 2nd reaction: 5 star It is a mammoth undertaking and it seems Bolano’s genius lays in its excess.
- It was a chore to read from start to finish.
- Bolaño was dying of liver disease as he scrambled to finish 2666. He researched the murders of women in Juárez as if his life depended on it.
- I see that some readers have reviewd this book in 2 sentences. I think this is a terrible insult to Roberto Balano. He deserves our attention. Even though not everyone can enjoy the book, you must admire it.
- I didn’t enjoy the book at the beginning, As I progressed it got much better and I will never forget this reading experience.
- 897 pages, 9 days of reading and 5 short reviews just to give you a small impression as to what you can expect in this book!
- In summation, I would like to quote pp 838 because it expresses exactly how I felt after reading the book:
- “…despite the chaos of the text, in the end he was left with a feeling of great satisifaction, because Archimboldi had lived up to all the hopes he had placed in him.”
Score : 5
What real reading looks like:
Roberto Bolano ( 1953 – 2003)
- Bolano was nearing death when a reporter asked him for his thoughts about the word ‘posthumous’.
- It sounds like a Roman gladiator, Bolano said. As in Spartacus, Commodus and Posthumous.
- An invincible Roman gladiator, he added. Or so poor Posthumous would like to think in order to give himself courage.