With the American publication of The Savage Detectives (in 2006), the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño (1953–2003) wowed critics and proved that literary fiction in translation can actually capture a wide American audience. Bolaño’s final novel, 2666, is the unfinished masterpiece that you’ll want to read this fall in order to schmooze with the literati — or host the weirdest, coolest book club in town.
Drawing on real-life accounts of the disappearance of hundreds of women in Juarez, Mexico, 2666 spans centuries and continents, moving from the Mexican desert to Detroit to Europe. Bolaño, who was all but finished with the 900-page novel at the time of his death (at 50, of liver disease), left instructions that the novel’s five lengthy sections be published as five individual books, hoping this would make for a richer inheritance for his children. Wisely, his heirs and publishers decided to publish it in one volume that’s sure to be the season’s flashiest literary masterwork.
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