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February 23rd, 2010

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02:49 pm - More on 2666
I just read Adam Roberts' overview of 2666 by Robert Bolano. Here is his review of the fourth part, which is a relentless 300-page exposition of corpse after corpse of the murdered women of Ciudad Juarez.

Here is what I wrote:
Most of this novel is taken up with hundreds and hundreds of descriptions - each about half a page in length for hundreds of pages - of the discovery of individual female bodies. It's not titillating, it's not melodramatic. It makes you confront the vast number of deaths, by blunt repetition. Each dead person is a person, with their own lost life. I can't explain really: it's a way of making you acknowledge the deaths without making them into a source of cheap entertainment.

Here is one of the things Roberts says:
he dares his reader to make something of this mass of posthumous horribleness. The mass murder of women becomes, clearly, the lens through which a whole society is seen, and we are challenged to agree, or disagree, that this in turn illuminates something appallingly true about the world at large.

It made me think of the women who come to Kairos, and the way that some people's suffering is ignored.

This review also made me think of The Ask and The Answer - I am reminded of that study which shows that witnesses are more likely to consider a person guilty if they are tortured. The fact that someone is degraded and hurt will make people feel they deserve it in some way.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 23rd, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)
I reviewed his Amulet for the Amazon Vine programme. One day I may forgive him for wasting my time on pages of overwritten pretentious tosh. Then again... Maybe this one's better but Amulet put me off so massively that I shall probably never find out.
[User Picture]
Date:February 23rd, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
It is heavily elaborate writing. It's the opposite of Orwell I think - rather than trying to convey a meaning in as direct a way as possible, he talks all around it, with masses of details that can't recombine into a coherent story. I found it quite a struggle.

(ETA - I should say, but a struggle which I kept up to the end, because I did think it was worth reading)

Edited at 2010-02-23 08:24 pm (UTC)

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