Natasha Wimmer’s ‘Notes Toward an Annotated Edition of 2666’

p. 312:  “He chose The Metamorphosis over The Trial, he chose Bartleby over Moby-Dick, he chose A Simple Heart over Bouvard et Pécuchet, and A Christmas Carol over A Tale of Two Cities or The Pickwick Papers.  What a sad paradox, thought Amalfitano.  Now even bookish pharmacists are afraid to take on the great, imperfect, torrential works, books that blaze paths into the unknown.”  With 2666, Bolaño clearly chooses Moby-Dick over Bartleby.  As Ignacio Echevarría points out in his “Note to the First Edition” of 2666, Bolaño “boasted…of having embarked on a colossal project, far surpassing The Savage Detectives in ambition and length.”  In Fresán’s words:  “What is sought and achieved here is the Total Novel, placing the author of 2666 on the same team as Cervantes, Sterne, Melville, Proust, Musil, and Pynchon.” “

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