More on the Cover Design of 2666

[Update: bad link removed]

According to Strick, hardcover and paperback editions usually try to appeal to different audiences. Hardcovers, in general, are geared toward older readers, while paperbacks attract younger, thriftier buyers. Paperbacks are often redesigned to reach an audience the previous cover didn’t. But FSG decided to do something different with 2666: they released the hardcover and slipcase paperback editions at the same time, both set at the same price.

“I thought the paperback design would appeal to Bolano’s underground audience, but when I last checked, the hardcover was selling better,” Strick said. “I asked my editor, who thought that because the slipcase had to be shrink-wrapped, people felt more comfortable buying the other edition.”

The two new novels

This is sort of old news, pharmacy but back in March it was reported that two new novels and a sixth section of 2666 had been found among Bolaño’s papers. The Spanish paper La Vanguardia reported that the archive of papers contains poems, shop diaries, pills and “un puzle de narraciones.” The titles of the novels are apparently entitled Diorama and The Troubles of the Real Police (or the Murderers of Sonora).

The Vanguardia also tells us that

The first time Roberto Bolaño wrote the name of Benno von Archimboldi was in 1988

But, about that “sixth section” of 2666, the Vanguardia explains that Bolaño saved multiple drafts of his books and rewrote things several times. This leads to some equivocation:

Entre el laberinto de borradores, hay una versión más reducida de Los detectives salvajes y un bloque homogéneo, que podría considerarse la sexta novela de 2666. El escritor dejó en una nebulosa por qué Amalfitano, el especialista en la obra de Benno von Archimboldi, abandonó Barcelona para ir a dar clases al fin del mundo, a Santa Teresa (trasunto de Ciudad Juárez), “un oasis de horror en medio de un desierto de aburrimiento”. En el mecanoscrito hallado ahora se desvela el misterio de su fuga, un motivo sorprendente que explica muchos cabos sueltos del personaje, y que adquiere, así, a la luz de este texto, nueva dimensión.

So, it’s not entirely clear if Bolaño wrote this as backstory about Amalfitano moving from Bacelona to Santa Teresa and decided not to include it with the overall book(s), or if there was just some poor editorial curation and, in fact, The Part About Amalfitano should be quite a bit longer. Either way, I don’t think we’ll see a “sixth section” emerge. This chunk of text would, it follows, be incorporated into The Part About Amalfitano (the shortest of the five sections).

Andrew Wylie showed another posthumous novel called The Third Reich was to publishers at the Frankfurt Buchmesse last fall. Apparently Bolaño wrote everything longhand until 1995 when he bought his first computer. One of the files found on that computer was 60 pages of retyped longhand of this novel The Third Reich. Because Bolaño himself had started retyping it, it is presumed he wanted to see it published.

Footnotes David Foster Wallace Conference Call for Papers

Footnotes: New Directions in David Foster Wallace Studies

“These academics’ arguments seem sound as far as they go . . .” —Infinite Jest

The critical discussion of David Foster Wallace has thus far been limited to a few aspects of his most popular works. Our conference seeks to expand the response beyond the popular imagination’s categories of “difficult, order ” “postmodern, find ” and “genius, hospital ” and beyond the author’s own articulation of his project as a response to irony. We invite a reconsideration of Wallace with an emphasis on new perspectives of his entire oeuvre.

The Graduate Center of the City University of New York is pleased to announce a one-day conference devoted to the discussion of Wallace’s work, to be held Friday, November 20th 2009, from 9 am to 5 pm. Please send your abstracts of no more than 250-words by August 15th, along with contact info and institutional affiliation (if any), to: .

We welcome papers exploring any aspect of Wallace’s work. Some suggested directions:

1) Reconsideration of Wallace’s Oeuvre: Papers examining Wallace’s neglected early works Broom of the System and Girl with Curious Hair; new perspectives on Infinite Jest; the direction of Wallace’s later work.

2) Wallace’s Literary Context: The reception of Wallace’s work and the way his image has been shaped by his fans, the media, and the academy; examinations of Wallace’s relation to his literary forebears, both 20th century and earlier; Wallace outside the bounds of “postmodernism”; Wallace’s influence on contemporary literature.

3) Theorizing Wallace: Wallace’s treatment of language and formal or figurative qualities in Wallace’s writing; applications of narrative theory to Wallace’s texts or consideration of his narrative innovations; Wallace’s analytic, phenomenological, or existential contexts; treatment of the self and subjectivity; relation to ethics/values/morality; feminism and gender issues.

4) Interdisciplinary Approaches to Wallace: The use of math, logic, philosophy, science, technology, politics, sociology, psychology, law, etc. in Wallace’s work; pedagogical issues related to Wallace’s work.

More Bolaño coming to the U.K.

Picador has decided to basically publish everything Roberto Bolaño wrote, diagnosis including one we haven’t seen before: The Third Reich.

Baggaley bought The Third Reich, page a novel completed by Bolaño shortly before his death in 2003 and as yet unpublished in any language, from Sarah Chalfant at the Wylie Agency. It will be published in 2011.

Between this and the New Yorker announcing David Foster Wallace’s unfinished novel, The Pale King, and Nabokov’s The Original of Laura debacle, we are really in posthumous novel season.

2666 coincidences

I have a google alert set up for 2666 and most all of the links are Bolaño-related, stuff but now that publicity for the book is starting to wane a little bit, hospital I’m seeing more mundane references. Sometimes they are phone numbers that end in -2666. Even the other day, I got a bill from a construction contractor for $2,666. Anyway, here are a couple of examples.

The Florida Lotto last night:

No tickets matched all six numbers in Wednesday’s Lotto drawing from the Florida Lottery. The numbers drawn were 20-28-29-39-43-49. The 51 tickets matching five numbers are worth $5,957.50 each, and the 2,666 tickets matching four numbers are worth $92.50 each. The estimated jackpot for Wednesday’s Lotto drawing is $8 million.

This one is a little more applicable to the novel. In a news story I saw a mention of House Resolution 2666, a bill related to gun control that was not adopted. The Library of Congress record for it is here. Congressman Bobby Rush introduced the bill in 2007 and named it after local hero Blair Holt.

According to police, Michael Pace boarded an eastbound 103rd Street CTA bus at 103rd and Halsted about 3:20 p.m. on May 10 and started shooting, striking two males and three females, all of whom were students at Julian. Kevin Jones is accused of giving Pace the gun, knowing he wanted to use it to try to kill someone he had argued with. Julian High School student Blair Holt used his body to shield and ultimately save a female friend.

The legislation has been re-introduced this term, but as HR 45 (which just doesn’t have the same ring to it).

Review at Prospect

The Prospect takes a literary look at the novel of the year:

Throughout 2666, clinic literary devices are deployed, violently extended past their limits and discarded. At one point, the number of times different words appear in a conversation is precisely listed; later, an entire page is devoted to the names of human phobias; we also get two solid sides of sexist jokes. All these are just warm-ups, however: Bolaño’s testing-to-destruction of literature’s possibilities reaches its apex in his descriptions of the murdered, violated bodies of over 100 women, one-by-one—an incandescent imaginary inquiry that shadows a similar plague of real killings in the Mexican border-town of Ciudad Juárez. In Bolaño’s telling, the detail is at once coolly forensic yet never generic: to each there is a story, a circumstance, a particular human absence from the world. It is literature as a kind of after-image, alternately numbing and blinding but always insistent on one point—that no one can consider themselves safe from this violence, which crosses borders and categories as easily as it leaps between words and deeds.

Big Ups from Edmund White

From an interview with writer Edmund White:

What books are currently on your bedside table?

Roberto Bolaño’s 2666. He is the most relentlessly fascinating author I’ve read in the past 10 years. Also Belly of Paris by Zola and a hundred books for a literary contest.

Wimmer interview/profile in CS Monitor

There is a long interview with and profile of Natasha Wimmer in the Christian Science Monitor.

In the spring of 2006, malady Natasha Wimmer left her job at a Manhattan trade publication and moved with her husband to Cuauhtémoc, health a bustling neighborhood in the northwest of Mexico City. Their flat overlooked Calle Abraham Gonzalez, not far from a café called La Habana, and Ms. Wimmer spent many afternoons there, reading and chatting with Mexican friends.

At the time, she was working on the first English translation of “The Savage Detectives,” by the novelist Roberto Bolaño, who died in 2003. Bolaño was Chilean, but had drifted in and out of Mexico City throughout his life, first as an adolescent, then as a revolutionary and littérateur.

“He was a geographically obsessed writer, especially when it came to Mexico City. He always told you exactly where he was going – down to the street, the intersection, the building,” Wimmer remembers. “Café La Habana, for instance, was the basis for Café Quito,” an important set piece in “The Savage Detectives.” (The book, which traces the literary and political adventures of two ambitious poets, is partly autobiographical.)

“Being in the middle of that was very clarifying, and very useful,” Wimmer says. “I found I understood the cultural references better, and had a closer sense of the vibrancy of the place. And that’s what I wanted to capture. The book has such a quality of urgency and ease. So many other books I’d read felt willed, and this one didn’t. It seemed essential.”

These days, Wimmer lives on the third floor of a carefully restored brownstone in Harlem, far from the noise and traffic of Mexico City. On a snowy Saturday this month, while her husband watched their young daughter, Wimmer recounted the years – more than three in all – she’d spent translating “Detectives,” and then “2666,” Bolaño’s 992-page posthumous masterpiece, released by Farrar, Straus and Giroux last December.

Just imagine all the publicity Bolaño would be getting were he alive. He would be a true literary superstar, contending for the Nobel, worldwide audience awaiting his next book, etc. Only the good die young.

Guardian Review

2666 is indeed Bolaño’s master statement, sales not just on account of its length and quality but also because it is the fullest expression of his two abiding themes: the writing life and violence. Bolaño’s interest in the former is easy to explain – he believed that a life dedicated to literature was the only one worth living. But his fascination with violence is more complex. One explanation can be found in his background. As someone who came of age during the era of South America’s dirty wars, viagra it is understandable that he should side with the view he attributes to one of the characters in 2666, viagra dosage who sees history as a “simple whore… a proliferation of instants, brief interludes that vie with one another in monstrousness”.

Full review here.

The many deaths of Roberto Bolaño

Long article by Michael Saler in the Times Online today.

Roberto Bolaño once said that he would rather have been a detective than a writer – not a humdrum gumshoe but an avenging angel, dosage “someone able to return alone, sale at night, to the scene of the crime, and not be afraid of ghosts”. Like Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, he was a disillusioned romantic with a passion for exposing evil and fortifying hope.

Not the greatest copyediting or proofreading, but hey, times are tight, right?

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