A translated excerpt
from book 5 of 2666 (page 969), which is actually starting to make sense now. The 5 books are indeed connected, so I take back what I wrote yesterday.
"They talked about books, about poetry (Ingeborg asked Reiter why he didn't write poetry and Reiter answered that all poetry, in any of its multiple disciplines, was contained or could be contained in a novel)..."
And this is what Bolaño has done with this novel and with Los detectives salvajes, sifting poetry into the novel. This isin't something new to fiction or poetry, of course. W.G. Sebald does the same thing in The Rings of Saturn. I read Rayuela as a form of poetry. And so forth, going back as far as one cares to look.
Some of the scenes in book 5 that occur in post-war Germany remind me of moments in Jorge Volpi's En busca de Klingsor. Particularly the hints being dropped to the reader that Archimboldi might somehow be involved with the murders in Juárez. Or, at least, that he kills a former Nazi party official using the same method as the murders in Juárez, strangulation.
Bolaño's seemingly endless novel incessantly hovers around variations of evil, creating a feeling of dread in the reader. The storytelling is brilliant but one of the effects of the book on me is despair. How does one face evil's daily and unavoidable presence? With prayer (back to poetry). With words and memory.
Venezuelan writer Juan Carlos Chirinos discusses the parallels between Chavismo and Nazi ideology, today at El Meollo (go to "Cuando el autoritarismo avanza" in the "Opinión" section) and at his blog.