27 August 08 | Chad W. Post

In this week’s Fall Books Preview, Sam Anderson has a write-up on 2666, which promises to be one of—if not the—big books of 2008.

For a certain demographic of high-lit dorks, 2666 is like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: We’ve been shivering for it for months. Given the current climate of critical love, it might even have a shot at becoming the Infinite Jest–style Strangely Popular Giant Novel of the Year. It promises all the Bolaño signatures: sex, violence, nightmares, stories within stories, obsessed obsessives, an intercontinental hunt for a literary recluse, radical art (one painter finishes a self-portrait by affixing his mummified severed hand to the canvas), and the occasional five-page-long sentence. The big question will be, can a former poet whose mind seems to work most powerfully in short dashes, and whose long novels tend to feel like rapid successions of short fevers, sustain our attention for almost 900 pages? Either way, its publication is bittersweet: Although it marks the end, finally, of the English-speaking world’s Bolaño lag, it’s also the end, forever, of our new Bolaño.

A subset of those high-lit dorks have been carrying around galleys since the beginning of summer . . . I’m almost done reading this (it really is long, and has big pages to boot), and it’s absolutely astounding. (I actually got an e-mail yesterday in which someone claimed that it might well be the greatest book ever.)

This write-up is nice, if not a bit inaccurate. This fall New Directions is bringing out a collection of Bolano’s poetry, and they have a few more titles coming out over the next few years. ND is publishing everything by Bolano, except for The Savage Detectives and 2666, so thankfully this isn’t the end of new Bolano titles . . .

Comments are disabled for this article.
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders
Reviewed by Kaija Straumanis

Hello and greetings in the 2017 holiday season!

For those of you still looking for something to gift a friend or family member this winter season, or if you’re on the lookout for something to gift in the. . .

Read More >

The Size of the World
The Size of the World by Branko Anđić
Reviewed by Jaimie Lau

Three generations of men—a storyteller, his father and his son—encompass this book’s world. . . . it is a world of historical confusion, illusion, and hope of three generations of Belgraders.

The first and last sentences of the first. . .

Read More >

Island of Point Nemo
Island of Point Nemo by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès
Reviewed by Katherine Rucker

The Island of Point Nemo is a novel tour by plane, train, automobile, blimp, horse, and submarine through a world that I can only hope is what Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès’s psyche looks like, giant squids and all.

What. . .

Read More >

The Truce
The Truce by Mario Benedetti
Reviewed by Adrianne Aron

Mario Benedetti (1920-2009), Uruguay’s most beloved writer, was a man who loved to bend the rules. He gave his haikus as many syllables as fit his mood, and wrote a play divided into sections instead of acts. In his country,. . .

Read More >

I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World
I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World by Kim Kyung Ju
Reviewed by Jacob Rogers

Kim Kyung Ju’s I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World, translated from the Korean by Jake Levine, is a wonderful absurdist poetry collection. It’s a mix of verse and prose poems, or even poems in the. . .

Read More >

Kingdom Cons
Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera
Reviewed by Sarah Booker

Yuri Herrera is overwhelming in the way that he sucks readers into his worlds, transporting them to a borderland that is at once mythical in its construction and powerfully recognizable as a reflection of its modern-day counterpart. Kingdom Cons, originally. . .

Read More >

The Invented Part
The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Imagine reading a work that suddenly and very accurately calls out you, the reader, for not providing your full attention to the act of reading. Imagine how embarrassing it is when you, the reader, believe that you are engrossed in. . .

Read More >

A Simple Story: The Last Malambo
A Simple Story: The Last Malambo by Leila Guerriero
Reviewed by Emilee Brecht

Leila Guerriero’s A Simple Story: The Last Malambo chronicles the unique ferocity of a national dance competition in Argentina. The dance, called the malambo, pushes the physical and mental limits of male competitors striving to become champions of not only. . .

Read More >

The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof
The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof by Cesar Aira
Reviewed by Will Eells

Aira continues to surprise and delight in his latest release from New Directions, which collects two novellas: the first, The Little Buddhist Monk, a fairly recent work from 2005, and The Proof, an earlier work from 1989. There are a. . .

Read More >

Agnes by Peter Stamm
Reviewed by Dorian Stuber

The narrator of Peter Stamm’s first novel, Agnes, originally published in 1998 and now available in the U.S. in an able translation by Michael Hofmann, is a young Swiss writer who has come to Chicago to research a book on. . .

Read More >

The next few events from our Translation Events Calendar: See More Events >