All posts tagged: 2666

2666 by Roberto Bolaño

Of literary critics, professors, journalists, crime detectives, and cult writers – 2666 by Roberto Bolaño

2666 is Roberto Bolano’s master statement. Published a year after his death and translated into English a few more years later, it is an enormous book that defies summary. The novel’s core is the violent killings of women in the fictional town of Santa Teresa, a town that parallels the Mexican border town Ciudad Juarez. Revolving around these murders are literary scholars in search of a reclusive cult writer, a professor who struggles to maintain his sanity, a journalist sent to the town to cover a boxing match, and the cult writer himself. Written with prose that is all at once riveting, insightful, humorous, deadening, and resonant, it is that kind of death defying novel that only few writers can come up with. Last year, I chose this as my first read of 2012 with a fellow blogger. We do not know how to approach this. We were wishing ourselves loads of good luck because we were intimidated by the sheer length of the book, not to mention the preconceived notions I had for it. …

Thirteen Translations

Quarterly Rhapsody: Translated Books

I almost forgot my quarterly feature, which is a post where I ramble about book-related stuff. Previous topics that I discussed in Quarterly Rhapsody, if you are interested, are: why I blog about books, how I rate my books, following book lists, planning the books to be read, and signed books. So for the third quarter of the year, let’s talk about books translated into other languages. This topic has been bothering me for the past couple of weeks, and we have two books to blame: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass. For the first book, I have this unquenchable desire to immediately read the translation by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find a copy. As for the second book, I was going to start reading Ralph Manheim’s translation when by some accident, I found out that he made some omissions from the original text. I put it back on my shelf and asked the local book stores if they have the Breon Mitchell translation …

2666 Diaries, V

Almost too late, but let’s do this – 2666 Diaries, V

For the sake of formally finishing the first chunkster diary of the year, let me repost some stuff and look back to this magnificent novel. Also included are some conversations with my reading buddy, The Misanthropologist. These notes are selected based on my ability to translate. Some full paragraphs in Filipino, I left them out because I’m not in the mood to translate. And why am I so anal about this? Anyway, thanks so much for reading this with me! Day 12: It’s really a nice break to get away from the crimes. I am tired of reading those police reports and medical examiners’ findings. In fact, I almost gave up on the book. We now get back to Archimboldi. Readers might have forgotten about him, but not me, because I’m really curious who really is this author that the literary critics from the first part are hunting. The first part of the last part talks about the childhood of Hans Reiter. I suppose this is Archimboldi. I’ll be damned if he’s not. Reiter is …

2666 Diaries, IV

Translating the thoughts about the killings – 2666 Diaries, IV

The Part about the Crimes Yes, this time, I took my time to translate my buddy’s thoughts from Filipino or Taglish to English. Quite an effort since I do not wish to sound like I’m translating the inputs literally. Like “Wala lang,” a phrase that literally means “Nothing much.” Actually, that cannot even pass as a literal translation if we adhere to the strict literal sense because “lang” seems to be an exclusive Filipino thing. Anyway, I’m just going to note again that these thoughts are from The Misanthropologist. Day 7: We read all about the women who were abducted, raped, strangled, staked, and thrown everywhere. The descriptions are delivered matter-of-factly, much like a police report. Well, these are mostly police reports, and autopsy reports, and such reports. And since there are police reports, there are also inspectors. We are introduced to a number of them, but I remember mostly Juan de Dios Martinez. He seems to be the most capable and levelheaded among them, the inspectors and police men. But despite this, he can’t crack …

2666 Diaries, III

And then there were two – 2666 Diaries, III

I don’t know what happened to our other buddies, but I’m glad that The Misanthropologist, yes, our still unnamed, elusive, not-so-anonymous friend, is still on. Who, by the way, does not sound as misanthropological as the name denotes. Okay, I’ll stop pretending. Actually, we’re both done with this. I know, the posts are delayed. A lot of things to do. Here we go. Notes: These are originally posted on a discussion thread at GoodReads-TFG. I was originally reading this with the bloggers of The Misanthropologist and Kikay Reader, and our bookish friends Emir and Doc Ranee. I don’t know what happened to the other three, but I can’t keep holding back for them. Their inputs, although copy-pasted from their original sources, have minor translations and edits. Also, there are spoilers! And please don’t expect to understand the novel’s entirety based on these ramblings. It’s fundamentally a logbook not intended to make light out of things for the would-be reader. Day 5: I thought this is going to be a real drag, but the opening paragraph proved otherwise. Something about …