By Roberto Bolaño
THE POSTHUMOUS MASTERWORK FROM “ONE OF THE GREATEST AND MOST INFLUENTIAL MODERN WRITERS” (JAMES WOOD, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW) Composed within the final years of Roberto Bolaño’s existence, 2666 was greeted throughout Europe and Latin the United States as his maximum fulfillment, surpassing even his earlier paintings in its strangeness, good looks, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters comprises teachers and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage pupil and her widowed, mentally volatile father. Their lives intersect within the city sprawl of SantaTeresa—a fictional Juárez—on the U.S.-Mexico border, the place 1000s of younger manufacturing facility staff, within the novel as in lifestyles, have disappeared.
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That’s her front foot. Yes. It’s big, aint it? Yes. She wont come back here? No. She wont come back here. The boy stood up. He looked off up the meadow. There were two ravens sitting in a barren tree. They must have flown as they were riding up. Other than that there was nothing. Where do you reckon the rest of the cattle have got to? I dont know. If they’s a cow dead in a pasture will the rest of the cattle stay there? Depends on what it died of. They wont stay in a pasture with a wolf. You think she’s made another kill somewheres by now?
I aint the one that’s sulled up. He can be just as stubborn as you can. Then I reckon we’re in for it, aint we? She stood at the stove watching him bent at his work. Then she turned and took the iron skillet from the rack and set it on the stove. She opened the firebox door to put in wood but he’d already done it. When they’d done eating breakfast his father wiped his mouth and put his napkin on the table and pushed back his chair. Where’s the traps at? Hangin from the clothesline, said Boyd. He rose and left the room.
It aint ground. You cant grind some? Not without somebody hearin it I caint. The indian put the second half of the biscuit in his mouth and leaned slightly forward and produced a beltknife from somewhere about his person and reached and stirred the beans in the cup with it and then looked up at Billy and ran the blade along his tongue one side and then the other in a slow stropping motion and jammed the knife in the end of the log against which the fire was laid. How long you live here, he said.