Imaginary Textbook

Finished book 4 of 2666 and hope to plow through the final book today and tomorrow. Book 5 rewinds from the 1990s in Mexico to Germany in the 1930s, following what I think turns out to be the reclusive novelist Archimboldi as a child and young man. Lush, weird moments in rural Germany, a wealthy family's summer house deep in the forest, where young Archimboldi works. Brief scenes of Berlin in the 1930s, before the protagonist is drafted and ends up fighting in the invasion of Poland.

I doubt if Bolaño will make these five books coincide completely within the final 300 pages of the novel. Or, at least right now, I don't see how that might happen.


The Guillermo Sucre poem I translated a few days ago was taken from a great anthology of poetry written in Spanish between 1950 and 2000, edited by 2 Spanish and 2 Latin American poets. I bought Las ínsulas extrañas. Antología Poética 1950-2000 (Galaxia Gutenberg, 2002) for several reasons. First, because it's one of the only anthologies I've noticed that includes a generous selection of work by Venezuelan poets. Second, because it includes work by two Peruvian poets I'm very fond of, Emilio Adolfo Westphalen and Javier Sologuren (whose books I've had trouble finding). And, lastly, because I know next to nothing about poetry from Spain (other than 20th century classics like García Lorca, Altolaguirre and Alberti).

The anthology is close to 1000 pages long, plenty of poets to discover and compare. I'm thinking of it as an imaginary textbook for a class I'd like to take.

"El mar, el tierno mar, el mar de los orígenes,
Recomienza el trabajo viejo:
Limpiar los estragos del mundo,
Cubrirlo todo con una rosa dura y viva."

(Emilio Adolfo Westphalen)


I might want to write a short commentary on 2666 here once I finish it. The book will take me a while to digest, particularly considering how Bolaño seems to maintain such a wide range of characters, settings and narratives.

I'll probably comment on A-B-Sudario (Alfaguara, 2003) by Jacinta Escudos in the next few days, as I begin to read it.

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