2666 – Roberto Bolaño. Part 3: The Part About Fate

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Steph and Claire are hosting a read-along for the highly acclaimed book, 2666, by Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The novel is 900 pages long, and divided into 5 parts. We are reading one part a month, for the next five months.

Here are my thoughts on Part 3: The Part About Fate

I loved this part – I found it so much easier to read than the first two. This section reads much more like a normal novel and I now have a fuller understanding of what is happening –  although I guess you can never really tell what Bolaño is up to!

This section focuses on Fate, a reporter sent from New York to cover a boxing match in Saint Terasa, the Mexican city plagued by a serial killer. Fate quickly realises that the killings make a more interesting news story than a boxing match and so starts to investigate them.

This section finally brings things together, connecting the characters so I can finally begin to see their purpose in the book. It was so satisfying to finally discover links between some of the seemingly random events of the first two chapters.

As usual the writing was beautiful. I could have picked quotes from just about every page, but I was struck by the repetitive mention of the sun. It seemed to have great significance within this chapter.

But the sun has its uses, as any fool knows, said Seaman. From up close it’s hell, but from far away you’d have to be a vampire not to see how useful it is, how beautiful.

They crossed the yard and the street and their bodies cast extremely fine shadows that every five seconds were shaken by a tremor, as if the sun were spinning backward.

When the sun comes up everything will be over.

This section was also had a faster pace than the earlier two and had a cliff-hanger ending, making this the first section where I have actually been tempted to dive straight into the next chapter. I’m resisting though, in the hope that the suspense will add to the enjoyment of the book.

It appears this book is improving all the time. I am really looking forward to getting into The Part About The Crimes. I have very high expectations for it. Let’s hope it can live up to them.


Are you enjoying 2666 more now?

Can you wait a full month before beginning Part 4?

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  1. Emily says:

    Well, let me just say that if you’re like me, if you dive in and finish Part 4 before the posting date, the tension will still be unbearable because you’ll be so anxious to hear what everyone else thinks of it! Bolaño’s got you between a rock and a hard place. ;-)

    I’ve loved the novel all along, but I agree that it was lots of fun to start seeing the pieces come together and pick up on some of the connections. I’m glad we’re all reading it together, because other people are picking up on connections I missed, so I feel like we’re all getting more out of it. Good review!

    1. Jackie says:

      I’m so pleased to hear that part four is that good! I think I might read it earlier in the month this time – so maybe you wont have to wait that long for my feelings. You’ve made me want to go and read it now…..I’m trying to resist!!!

  2. Frances says:

    The sun as power source. I love that and did not notice it. Those are great quotes too.

    Feel the same as you about part four but will hold off. I just read part three right before I had to write, and felt that my thoughts flowed so much more freely right after putting it down. Somewhat apprehensive about the violence to follow though. My husband has read through to end already, and feels it might not sit well with me. But read it anyway I will.

    1. Jackie says:

      I am a bit worried about the violence too. I don’t think I’ve ever really read anything that has lots of violence in it before. I’m just hoping it doesn’t give me any nightmares.

      1. claire says:

        I’m really glad you’re liking it more now, Jackie. You know I’ve loved it all along, since the very first page and nothing’s changed, it only got better. However, I’m apprehensive, too, like Frances, because I’ve read a couple of reviews before delving in about how they wouldn’t recommend this kind of violence to any reader. However, after learning (through Gavin) that this was a homage to a real-life occurrence, I think I’ll sit through the violence knowing that this happens in real life, this HAD happened in real life, and that we only choose to either close our eyes and look away or face it, but the truth is it’s there and it’s real. So my mind is more open to it now.

        1. Jackie says:

          I didn’t realise that this was based on a real event, but am aware that there are a lot of horrific events occuring around the world all the time. I think being aware of them and reading about them in all their shocking detail are different things. I will be interested to see how well I cope with it all, as I do avoid violent films for this reason.

  3. Sandy says:

    Frances, I am amazed that your husband is reading with you! Did I miss that somehow? So I am really interested to know…do you think that this is going to be a five-star Jackie? The whole thing scares me to death…that and Gengi. I am in awe of your fortitude, and that of your reading companions, to forge ahead on these huge undertakings of literature. I’m not sure yet about Gengi, but this one has caught my eye!

    1. Jackie says:

      I think this book is going to be very difficult to rate. The last two parts could easily end up with five stars, but can you rate a whole book as five stars if you don’t like the first 200 pages that much? I think we’ll just have to see what my impressions are at the end.

      I think you’d enjoy this book, but I wouldn’t recommend Genji to you (or most of the people in the world) Genji is very hard work and I’m not sure it is going to be worth the effort.

      It may be worth putting 2666 on your Christmas list though!

  4. Steph says:

    Great thoughts, per usual, Jackie! I’m glad to read that you’re enjoying the book a lot more now – I am hoping that Part Three begins to turn things around for me. I found Part Two a pretty difficult/obtuse slog, so your feeling that his part reads more like a conventional novel certainly buoys my spirits! I just need to find my motivation to read it now… since the wedding and the honeymoon, I’ve really just been looking for books that capture my imagination right off the bat. It’s been hard to find the drive/desire to read Part Three considering my lukewarm feelings and great confusion with respect to Part Two. Hopefully I can get to it some time this week!

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph – Part three should capture your imagination quite quickly. It really is quite different from the first two parts. It is so good that I want to move on to part 4 now. I look forward to finding out if you enjoy it as much as I did.

  5. Armen says:

    I haven’t started this one. I enjoyed savage detectives a lot and read the first half twice!!

    1. Jackie says:

      I have been interested in his other books, but don’t think I’ll attempt them for a while. It is good to know that Savage Detectives in worth reading.

  6. Richard says:

    Jackie, glad to hear that you enjoyed part 3 quite a bit more than the earlier parts! Like a few of the other readers, I’ve loved the book since the very beginning both for its ambitious narrative structure and Bolaño’s incredible prose–but I could see how this part might be easier to relate to on some levels. In any event, very good points you make about the importance of the sun, which was a rather enigmatic symbol throughout much of The Part About Fate. Something to think about, for sure!

  7. Lu says:

    I absolutely loved the points you picked out about the sun! They were beautiful. I’m glad you’re enjoying it more :) I’m really excited to move on to the next part. I know this is silly, but it’s the second book in the paperback box set that is divided into 3 books, so it will be like a fresh start!


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