Bolaño 2666 Read-A-Long – Week 1

The Bolaño 2666 Read-A-Long is a twelve week read of 2666 with people who can’t face reading the tome on their own. There are about 8 of us who are reading this together.

If you like to join in, get your copy of 2666 and join us any time. You can find the full reading schedule in THIS POST.

Reading for Week 1

This week, we read the following

Section I The Part About the Critics

Week 1. Pages 3-79 (77 pages) (about half-way the first section)

My summary (may contain spoilers)

In the first half of the first section, it’s about the critics indeed! First they are introduced to us: they are four professors or students of German literature with a special interest in an obscure contemporary German writer called Benno von Archimboldi. None of the scolars have ever encountered this writer in real life.

They are from four different countries: Jean-Claude Pelletier is from France, Piero Morini is from Italy, Manuel Espinoza from Spain, and the youngest and only woman, Liz Norton from England.

Initially, the four only meet at meetings and conferences about German literature, but Pelletier and Espinoza both start a relationship with Norton and they know this about each other. When Liz Norton is seeing yet another man, a colleague from her own university, the other two are not happy.

During a conference in Hamburg, Pelletier and Espinoza decide to visit the publishing house of Archimboldi where they meet the owner, Frau Bubis. She has met Archimboldi and is willing to tell them (a little) about the author. Still, the two men are unsatisfied with the amount of information they get from her.

One day, Liz has invited the two men to her house in London and she tells them she wants to stop seeing them. When they go out for dinner in the evening, a taxi driver of Middle Eastern nationality, accuses Liz of being a whore as she is out with two men at the same time. Pelletier and Espinoza get angry and beat the taxi driver unconscious.


This was the beginning of a different book than I expected. I thought the book was an apocalyptic story about middle-America and I got a academic story about Europe! But, having read only 1/12 of the book so far, anything can still happen of course!

I had severe problems with the long sentences at the beginning of this section. Some of them were 2 or 3 pages long! Later on, this stops, and while I have not consciously looked out for them, I don’t think there were any particularly long sentences in the rest of this week’s read.

I have a confession to make: I had the English translation, but because of the long sentences, I thought I’ll try the Dutch translation from the library. And yes, I find that much easier going. I think it’s partially that I find Dutch a little easier than English – although not much, I can read them almost equally fast. Partially, it might also be the translation/translator. Maybe this one suits me better!

Discussion questions

Did you enjoy the story so far? Was it what you expected?

What did you think of the long sentences? Did you have problems reading them? Do you think there was a purpose to them? Why only for a number of pages, why did the writer not use them through-out?

You can leave comments in this post, or if you have written your own post about your experiences with this week’s read, please leave the link to your post in the comments.

Next week (Week 2)

This week, we read the following

Section I The Part About the Critics

Week 2. Pages 80-159 (79 pages) March 12th (to the end of Section I)

What did you think of this first week’s read?

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

7 Responses to Bolaño 2666 Read-A-Long – Week 1

  1. thebookbee says:

    It was not was I was expecting at all, I was bracing myself for an apocalyptic story and instead I got a somewhat academic story of Europe.
    I did not mind the long sentances, I think that it adds something to the book at that particular time.

    I am loving this book so far, it is not what I expected at all.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Glad you’re enjoying it, Bookbee! But, so unlike what I was expecting too. We’ll see, the next part will still be on the critics, and then we move on to something different….

  2. Chinoiseries says:

    Same here, it was rather surprising… and after a few pages, the story just got easier to read. I’m so curious what will be next!

  3. I totally think I need to read this one! I’ve picked it up, put it down, picked it up again and then put it back down. I hope you enjoy it and can’t wait to hear your final thoughts!

  4. Pingback: Read-a-long: Bolaño’s 2666 – Week 1

  5. Joanna says:

    I am a bit delayed but have finally posted my thoughts on week 1 – I really liked it by the way.

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