Monday, December 20, 2010

2666: In Revue

Torrential is the right word for 2666. There's a lot of it, most of it of conspicuously high quality. Which is what drew me to it, that and the sustained praise for the book as a whole. But I don't think I can read it again any time soon. First, I mentioned a lot about the obliterating fourth section, the one about detectives in Mexico trying to solve brutal murder rapes and it casts a cloud. It's a frightening, towering cloud, but...I can't go back. I will go back. Almost certainly.

But not now. Bolano's basically written 5 stories, each with a different style and intertwined them. And I don't normally read any of those stories. I mean, okay, I read Greg Rucka's comics and I'm only now starting the first of the three Tara Chase Queen and Country books, but the epic road trip or going insane or love triangle or war story is not something I'm familiar with. Yet, it's compelling. Painfully. What's crazy is that I don't even know the important things I've missed. I'm willing to bet the dreams the characters had all line in one form or another and those will be the portions I focus on intently on the next reading. This reading was just to get through it.

It's weird. I'll go back to records. I'll go back to videogames, but books, for the most part, I read once and tear through whatever's new. Can't slow down. I want to see something new more than I really want to suck everything out of a book, but 2666 is so colossal as to require a second reading, no matter how far in the future it will be and no matter how much of my brainspace it'll take up. Whenever I was asked by my friends what I was reading, 2666 was the book that leapt to my mind. Yes, I was reading other books, but they were books That Were Not 2666.

2666 is described by critics as borrowing elements from many different genres and that may be true, since I'm not a literary critic, but, what seems like a more truthful appraisal of the material to me is that it's five different books, sewn together through shared characters, plot and setting. It's at least five different flavors of novel, some fleshed out into full length books, others, one just long enough to fit in a coat pocket comfortably.

I want to move on something else. Something else being, as mentioned before, the three Tara Chase Queen and Country books. I'm 100 pages into A Gentleman's Game and it feels so much...lighter to read. Certainly, Greg Rucka isn't the same kind of author Bolano is, but A Gentleman's Game hits a genre I recognize the pattern of and hits it almost without trying. (I'm familiar with it and the comfort that comes with the familiarity is welcome.)

I'll almost certainly push my reading boundaries again, since I have two stories by Yuiko Mishima Spring Snow (I think?) and a short essay called Patriotism. I almost wasn't going to buy the book (it's really a pamphlet), but then I remembered: with a title like that, I'll put my money down. As for Bolano, it's not like I'll be hurting for more of his work. Maybe the Savage Detectives next? That is to say, next, but not soon.

I have at least 4 BT records somewhere on my music devices and computer, but the only one I ever listen to is the single for the Force of Gravity, which has two remixes and two other extended mixes of songs. Oddly enough, said single doesn't have the original track, but instead has a radio edit. So: It's a single for a song it doesn't contain.

As for why this is the case, well, I basically look for Somnambulist, and never find it, since it's apparently on the one my friend didn't burn for me (remember those days?) and I happened on the tracks years ago and have kept the Force of Gravity in my queue.

An additional aside: Click the link to Somnabulist. It takes you to the official video for the song, which visually, feels incredibly dated. It makes me smile, because I know I'm acting/dressing at least as stupid now, but in different ways. Look back and laugh.

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