Week 15: Deaths

by Michael Cooler

p.834 — Leube admits that he killed his wife by pushing her into a ravine.
p.836 — We learn that Ingeborg has died in a remote village on the Adriatic coast, by drowning.
p.848 — Bubis dies in his office while reading a funny book.
p.855 — Popescu instructs two Hungarians to throw the crippled captain into the Seine.
p.856 — Popescu dies in a Paris hospital.
p.867 — The one-legged father of Hans and Lotte dies from illness.
p.871 — The mechanic married to Lotte’s mother dies.
p.872 — Lotte’s mother dies of cancer when Klaus is 12.
p.876 — Werner dies of heart disease.

Week 13: Deaths

by Michael Cooler

p.703 — 1941 — Reiter and the Germans kill 5 Soviet soldiers dragging a field gun.
p.704 — Nietzke and several others from the company are killed.
p.710 — Ansky’s notebook — An engineer is murdered because he’s going insane.
p.724 — Ansky’s notebook — 1930 — Mayakovsky commits suicide.
p.724 — Ansky’s notebook — 1936 — Gorky dies, who Ivanov admires.
p.727 — Ansky’s notebook — Ivanov is arrested, questioned about being a Trotskyist, and shot in the back of the head.
p.733 — Ansky’s notebook — Ansky recalls a joke where a French anthropologist offends a native by vigorously shaking hands, and is killed by having his head smashed open with a stone. Some natives are killed in the resulting clashes.
p.736 — Ansky’s notebook — A well-known Russian poet disappears and is killed.
p.736 — Ansky’s notebook — Ansky returns to Kostekino and his father dies shortly thereafter.
p.737 — Ansky’s notebook — The Einsatzgruppe C has likely killed the Jewish inhabitants of Kostekino.
p.739 — 1942 — Sergeant Lemke is gravely wounded, Kruse and Bublitz are killed.
p.745 — 1944 — Reiter sees the Romanian General Entrescu crucified by his own troops outside a castle.
p.753 — Sammer’s recollections — 8 of 500 Jews die on the train trip to the Polish town.
p.755 — Sammer’s recollections — 2 of 500 Jews (elderly) die shortly after arriving in the village.
p.757 — Sammer’s recollections — 2 of 500 Jews (young mother and baby) die.
p.761 — Sammer’s recollections — 80 of 500 Jews are executed by the end of the first week.
p.762 — Sammer’s recollections — 20 of 500 Jews executed.
p.763 — Sammer’s recollections — 60 of 500 Jews executed by conscripted alcoholic soccer-playing Polish boys.
p.764 — Sammer’s recollections — 60 of 500 Jews executed.
p.765 — Sammer’s recollections — 8 of 500 Jews executed.
p.765 — Sammer’s recollections — Two of the Polish-boy executioners die from pneumonia. Now only 100 Jews are still alive and are released to fend for themselves.
p. 767 — Sammer’s strangled body is found in the POW camp between the tent and the latrines.

In a very few pages 400 Jews die in a Polish village overseen by the German Sammer during World War II, which is almost 200 more than all the women we’ve read about in The Part About the Crimes.

Week 11: Deaths

by Michael Cooler

93 — p.569 — Aurora Cruz Barrientos — 18 yrs — May 1997 — killed in her own home, multiple stab wounds, raped, a neighborhood prowler is suspected
94 — p.573 — Sabrina Gómez Demetrio — 15 yrs — June 1997 — stabbed and shot by men in a Suburban, she walks to a hospital before she dies
95 — p.573 — Aurora Ibánez Medel — 34 yrs — June 1997 — worker, found by the highway, strangled and probably raped, her husband Jaime Pacheco Pacheco confesses after harsh interrogation
96 — p.575 — unidentified — 20-25 yrs — July 1997 — found in a sewage ditch, dead for at least three months, wearing an expensive velvet glove
97 — p.576 — Ana Muñoz Sanjuán — 18 yrs — September 1997 — waitress, found behind some trash cans, raped and strangled
98 — p.577 — María Estela Ramos — 23 yrs — September 1997 — worker, found in an empty lot, tortured, raped, blunt trauma to the head
99 — p.579 — unidentified — 14-16 yrs — October 1997 — found near railroad tracks, tortured, strangled
100 — p.583 — Leticia Borrego García — 18 — October 1997 — found near the Pemex soccer fields, half buried, strangled, Lalo Cura is confused by the crime scene
101 — p.586 — Lucía Domínguez Roa — 33 yrs — October 1997 — waitress, shot in the abdomen supposedly by chance while walking in Colonia Hidalgo
102 — p.591 — Rosa Gutiérrez Centeno — 38 yrs — October 1997 — worker and waitress, found by the side of a dirt road, strangled
103 — p.595 — unidentified — November 1997 — female bones discovered by a group of hikers on the steepest side of Cerro La Asunción
104 — p.599 — Angélica Ochoa — November 1997 — looked more like a settling of scores than a sex crime, shot five times by her husband the pimp La Venada
105 — p.603 — Rosario Marquina — 19 yrs — November 1997 — worker, found on the back lot of a maquiladora, strangled, raped
106 — p.607 — María Elena Torres — 32 yrs — November 1997 — found in her house, she had marched in the WSDP protest two days prior, stabbed in the neck, probably by her boyfriend
107 — p.611 — Úrsula González Rojo — 20-21 yrs — December 1997 — worker, found in a dry streambed by a rancher who was hunting, stabbed
108 — p.616 — Juana Marín Lozada — December 1997 — worked at a computer store, dumped in an open field by the highway, neck broken, probably not raped or tortured
109 — p.620 — unidentified — December 1997 — bones discovered on the edge of a ranch
110 — p.625 — Esther Perea Peña — 24 yrs — December 1997 — shot to death at the dance hall Los Lobos, perhaps by accident
111 — p.630 — unidentified — 15-16 yrs — December 1997 — remains found in a plastic bag on some land a few miles from a farming cooperative
112 — p.632 — unidentified — about 18 yrs — December 1997 — remains found in a plastic bag on the eastern edge of the city, close to the border

Other deaths or disappearances:

p.615 — Josué Hernández Mercado — 32 years old, the reporter for La Raza de Green Valley, disappears. We can guess that he has been killed for covering the murders of women in Santa Teresa.

p.616 — Kelly Rivera Parker — Friend of politician Azucena Esquivel Plata, disappears in Santa Teresa. We learn that she organized sex parties for narcos, and is probably dead, or more or less dead.

p.626 — Francisco López Ríos — The supposed killer of Esther Perea Peña in the dance hall Los Lobos, but possibly a scapegoat killed to conceal the identity of the real murderer, a judicial on the narcotics squad.

Week 9: Deaths

by Michael Cooler

46 — p.466 — unidentified — 25 yrs — September 1995 — mutilated, found near the highway
47 — p.466 — unidentified — September 1995 — found in the dump El Chile
48 — p.466 — unidentified — 13 yrs — September 1995 — mutilated, raped, stabbed, strangled
49 — p.493 — Adela Garcia Estrada — 15 yrs — November 1995 — worker, found in the El Ojito ravine, mutilated and strangled
50 — p.493 — unidentified — 19 yrs — November 1995 — found in a vacant lot, stabbed
51 — p.494 — Beatriz Concepcion Roldan — 22 yrs — November 1995 — waitress, found near the highway, stabbed and mutilated
52 — p.495 — Michelle Requejo — 14 yrs — December 1995 — worker, stabbed, found in a vacant lot, tied up with the same knots that bound Estrella Ruiz Sandoval
53 — p.496 — Rosa Lopez Larios — 19 yrs — December 1995 — worker, found in a pine grove behind a Pemex tower, stabbed
54 — p.498 — Ema Contreras — December 1995 — shot by Officer Jaime Sanchez at home
55 — p.500 — unidentified — 30 yrs — February 1996 — Indian, found in an old railroad shed, stabbed
56 — p.501 — unidentified — 10 yrs — March 1996 — found between highway and a valley, stabbed
57 — p.501 — unidentified — 13 yrs — March 1996 — found between highway and a valley, strangled
58 — p.503 — unidentified — 16 yrs — March 1996 — perhaps a hitchhiker, found by the highway, stabbed, strangled
59 — p.503 — unidentified — 16 yrs — March 1996 — found on the slopes of Cerro Estrella, stabbed and mauled
60 — p.504 — Beverly Beltran Hoyos — 16 yrs — March 1996 — worker, found on a stretch of open ground, stabbed, raped
61 — p.504 — unidentified — 18-20 yrs — March 1996 — stabbed, raped
62 — p.507 — unidentified — 20 yrs — April 1996 — worker, found on the open ground east of the old rail sheds, stabbed, raped
63 — p.507 — unidentified — April 1996 — found in the desert, beaten, strangled
64 — p.508 — Paula Sanchez Garcias — 23 yrs — June 1996 — dancer, shot by her husband Julian Centeno while dancing
65 — p.509 — unidentified — 17 yrs — June 1996 — found by the highway, stabbed, raped
66 — p.509 — Erica Mendoza — 21 yrs — June 1996 — found by the highway, raped by her husband and his cousin, stabbed repeatedly
67 — p.513 — unidentified — 15-16 yrs — July 1996 — found near the highway, stabbed

Other deaths:

p.492 — The narco Enrique Hernandez goes to prison for killing four people from the same family. He appears to retaliate by having his gunmen steal a shipment of cocaine from Estanislao Campuzano, killing two warehouse watchmen in the process. Later two more of Campuzano’s men, a truck driver and his companion, are killed while transporting drugs to the U.S.

p.500 — Jan 1996 — No women die, but three men are shot in a bar in a drug dispute, a Central American man is found with his throat cut, and a man kills himself playing Russian roulette.

p.508 — A twenty-one-year-old prisoner commits suicide.

Week 7: Deaths

by Michael Cooler

1 — p.353 — Esperanza Gomez Saldaña — 13 yrs — Jan 1993 — found in vacant lot in Colonia Las Flores, strangled, raped
2 — p.354 — Luisa Celina Vázquez — 16 yrs — Jan 1993 — found in apt. in Colonia Mancera, strangled, pregnant
3 — p.355 — Unidentified — about 30 yrs — Feb 1993 — found in alley in city center, stabbed, beaten
4 — p.356 — Isabel Urrea — Mar 1993 — reporter for radio station El Heraldo del Norte, shot
5 — p.357 — Isabel Cansino — Apr 1993 — prostitute, beaten
6 — p.358 — Unidentified — about 35 yrs — May 1993 — found in a dump, worker, pregnant, strangled, raped
7 — p.359 — Guadalupe Rojas — 26 yrs — May 1993 — worker, shot by boyfriend
8 — p.360 — Unidentified — 25 or 26 yrs — May 1993 — found on the slopes of Cerro Estrella, stabbed, raped
9 — p.370a — Father Juan Carrasco — May 1993 — killed by the Penitent
10 — p.370b — Caretaker, church of Nuestro Señor Jesucristo — May 1993 — killed by the Penitent
11 — p.372 — Emilia Mena Mena — June 1993 — found in a dump, raped, stabbed, burned
12 — p.373 — Unidentified — between 23 and 25 yrs — June 1993 — discovered by school janitor, stabbed
13 — p.374 — Margarita López Santos — 16 yrs — June 1993 — body found near a shack, cause of death unknown
14 — p.389 — Unidentified — Sep 1993 — found in an abandoned car, strangled, raped
15 — p.390 — Gabriela Morón — 18 yrs — Sep 1993 — maquiladora worker, killed by her boyfriend
16 — p.391a — Marta Navales Gómez — 20 yrs — Oct 1993 — found in a dump, strangled, raped
17 — p.391b — Elsa Luz Pintado? — found near the highway
18 — p.392a — Andrea Pacheco Martínez — 13 yrs — Nov 1993 — kidnapped from school, strangled, raped
19 — p.392b — Felicidad Jiménez Jiménez — 50 yrs — Dec 1993 — stabbed at home by her son, Ernesto
20 — p.399 — Unidentified — Jan 1994 — found in the desert off the highway to Nogales, stabbed, raped
21 — p.400 — Leticia Contreras Zamudio — 23 yrs — early 1994 — prostitute
22 — p.402 — Penélope Méndez Becerra — 11 yrs — early 1994 –  kidnapped from school, strangled, raped, had a heart attack

Also killed:

p. 397 — The professional, a state judicial police inspector, who tried to kill Pedro Rengifo’s wife, is killed along with a man holding an uzi by Lalo Cura. Anyone else think this hit was orchestrated by Pedro Rengifo himself and was astonished when Lalo Cura “saved” his wife (actually botching the whole operation)?

Most of the women killed are said to have worked (or one can imagine would have worked) at the factories on the outskirts of town. But also two prostitutes are killed, and a male priest and sexton at a church in Santa Teresa. One or two women are killed in domestic violence disputes. One reporter is killed, supposedly because of a burglary, but it is easy to assume she could have been assassinated for covering the murder of women in Santa Teresa. Women who have long, straight, dark hair seem more susceptible to being murdered, who are often from foreign countries. An ominous black Peregrino or MasterRoad car kidnapped two different young girls from outside their schools. Can we guess this is the same black Peregrino that Amalfitano sees outside his home?

Week 5: Deaths

by Michael Cooler

In trying to make a numbered list of deaths in 2666, it quickly became apparent that it was not very apparent which deaths should “count” in a numbered list and which deaths should not.  For example, the first two on the list.  We chose to give numbers one and two to the two women kidnapped on their way out of the club in Santa Teresa where Espinoza and Rebeca later find themselves dancing in The Part About the Critics.  But should they be numbered? They don’t actually “die” in this part of the book, but their story still seems important and worth mentioning.  And what if these same two women turn up later in The Part About the Crimes, maybe with names and more of their story, and we’ve counted them twice? So, we’ve decided to do two separate lists of deaths in the novel, one for the women killed in The Part About the Crimes and one for the rest of the book. The list of people who die or are killed in the rest of the book will be more flexible, looser, not as precise. But hopefully the list for the women killed in The Part About the Crimes will be more precise, since they are all part of a very specific phenomenon in northern Mexico called the feminicidios, or the femicides (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_homicides_in_Ciudad_Ju%C3%A1rez). In the end we can tally the count from both lists or not, whatever seems most useful.

Death # — Page — Name — Age — Date of Discovery — Description — Extra Details

1, 2 — p.151 — Two girls were kidnapped on their way out of the club (at some point in the past) where Espinoza and Rebeca are dancing, their bodies dumped in the desert.
3 — p.202 — While Amalfitano dreams of Lola and dusty philosophy books, “the Santa Teresa police found the body of another teenage girl, half buried in a vacant lot in one of the neighborhoods on the edge of the city.”
4 — p.231 — Edna Miller — Mother of Quincy Williams, or Oscar Fate.  Oscar is 30 years old and thinks his mother is in hell.
5 — p.235 — Jimmy Lowell — 55 or 60 years old — Chief boxing correspondent for Black Dawn, the magazine where Oscar Fate works. He is stabbed to death by black men in Chicago.
6 — p.238 — Edna Miller’s neighbor — Dies presumably from the heart attack on p.231 following the death of Edna Miller. Her daughter Rosalind says with a smile “She was old.”
7 — p.247 — Marius Newell — Killed by a black man in Santa Cruz, supposedly because Newell owed money, but Barry Seaman (friend and fellow co-founder of the Black Panthers) suspects foul play.
8 — p.251 — Lin Piao — A Chinese Communist military leader, killed in a plane crash.
9, 10, 11 — p.266 — A knife sharpener kills his wife and elderly mother in 1871 during the Paris Commune, and is himself shot and killed by police. The story is big news while the thousands killed in the Commune are mostly ignored. The white-haired man in the restaurant says “The ones killed in the Commune weren’t part of society, the dark-skinned people who died on the ship weren’t part of society.” Likewise the women who will turn up dead in The Part About the Crimes are dark-skinned, often immigrants to Mexico themselves, and are arguably not part of society.

Other mentions of death in pages 231-290:

p.245 — “Seaman said he didn’t like rap because the only out it offered was suicide. But not even meaningful suicide. I know, I know, he said. It’s hard to imagine meaningful suicide. It isn’t a common thing. Although I’ve seen or been near two meaningful suicides. At least I think I have. I could be wrong, he said.” Anyone have any thoughts on meaningful suicide?

p.251 — Barry Seaman recounts how his sister helps him write down recipes for a cookbook and then refers to her as his late sister.  Says of her (on p.250) “my sister, who was the world’s most good-hearted human being.”

p.253 — The starfish that Marius Newell finds on a beach in California dies.  He brings it home and cares for it and tries to steal a pump for the tank he keeps it in, but to no avail.  It ends up in the trash. But I get the feeling that this was one important starfish.

p.258 — A girl from a town in Arizona disappears (is not necessarily dead) in Santa Teresa, as told by the TV reporter Dick Medina. Fate is asleep while the segment runs, like Amalfitano who dreams while police discover bodies in Santa Teresa.

p.260 — Oscar Fate dreams of a man he’d interviewed once named Antonio Ulises Jones, who tells the tale of the diminishing number of communists in Brooklyn, saying “During the eighties, two of the four who were left died of cancer and one vanished without saying anything to anyone.”

p.263 — Oscar Fate mentions that Antonio Jones has “been dead for several years now.”  He guesses he might have died from old age. “One day, walking down some street in Brooklyn, Antonio Jones had felt tired, sat down on the sidewalk, and a second later stopped existing.”

p.265-267 — A white-haired man in the restaurant (Professor Kessler) is speaking to a young man, and the white-haired man says some very interesting things about death. “We didn’t want death in the home, or in our dreams and fantasies, and yet it was a fact that terrible crimes were committed, mutilations, all kinds of rape, even serial killings.” He goes on to say how twenty percent of the slaves died in ships en route to their destination, and how that didn’t much bother anyone. I think we could kind of say the same thing about the women being killed in Mexico. In some way we accept or ignore the horrible truth of the situation, because we don’t have an answer for it.  If only there were just one serial killer, and we could imagine an end to the murders coming with the serial killer being caught. But if the murders are part of a larger system — an inescapable new system of globalization and fluid borders, where drugs and wealth and weapons change hands rapidly, where police and politicians and narcotraficantes are all implicated, and ourselves too — things get murky. No easy answers. I think this is the abyss that Bolano is asking us to stare into, or dive into.

p.271 — “A voice in Spanish began to tell the story of a singer from Gómez Palacio who had returned to his city in the state of Durango just to commit suicide.”

p.287 — Fate is talking to Chucho Flores and asks how many women have been killed. Chucho says “Lots, more than two hundred.” Fate comments that it seems like one person could not have killed that many, and Chucho agrees, but it doesn’t appear that he has given it much thought. When I read this I think I’m struck by the fact that maybe I haven’t thought much about it either. Of course, Santa Teresa (Ciudad Juarez) is a little ways from Oregon, but if the crimes were being committed in my hometown, would I think about them then? Or would I become a cinephile like Charly Cruz, or bury myself in a book? This reminds me of a feeling I had while watching a movie called City of God, about a slum in Rio de Janeiro. I couldn’t believe this was based on a real place, which felt so different from my known universe. Santa Teresa feels like this too.

p.289 — Hercules Carreno, who is a Mexican heavyweight boxer, is beat to hell in Los Angeles by a boxer named Arthur Ashley. He was a sensation in Mexico until he lost this fight, could no longer hold jobs due to the severity of his injuries, and was forgotten. “They say he started to beg on the streets and that one day he died under a bridge.”

Week 3: Deaths

by Michael Cooler

Deaths in the last section of The Part About The Critics (pages 102 – 159):

No actual “deaths” but references to the murders in Mexico.

p. 137 – “Then Espinoza remembered that the night before, one of the boys had told them the story of the women who were being killed. All he remembered was that the boy had said there were more than two hundred of them and he’d had to repeat it two or three times because neither Espinoza nor Pelletier could believe his ears.”

“From 1993 or 1994 to the present day…And many more women might have been killed. Maybe two hundred and fifty or three hundred.”

This is information that the critics were not aware of.  Bolano has presented the critics as fairly insular up to this point, and finally they are getting a glimpse of the world around them. Espinoza reacts to the news by throwing up in a bathroom stall, while an ominous voice soothes Espinoza.  What are we to make of this?  To Espinoza, the voice seems like a comfort, but there is also something sinister in the voice that says “That’s all right, buddy, go ahead and puke.”  Almost as if the next thing this voice might say is, “And then step out of the stall and I’ll cut your throat.”  But Espinoza is still so privileged or fortunate that he does not detect an evil tone in the voice he hears.

p. 151 “As they drank Cuba libres, Rebeca told him that two of the girls who later showed up dead had been kidnapped on their way out of the club. Their bodies were dumped in the desert.” Espinoza gets unknowingly close to death with Rebeca at the dance club.  Here Bolano further places the aloof character of Espinoza in close proximity to real and dangerous violence.  Espinoza and Pelletier have been safe in their upscale hotel, but now Espinoza is brushing cheeks with the death that exists in Santa Teresa (although as a wealthy person he will escape Santa Teresa as Rebeca and the women of the city cannot).

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