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Summer Reading: Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 with Patrick O’Connor

I’m pleased to announce a summer reading project, 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, hosted at the Weblog and led by my academic mentor Pat O’Connor. As a student at Deep Springs College, I took more than 60 weeks of classes from Pat, including courses on Don Quixote, studies in Modernist literature and American surrealism, and a fantastic survey course whose title was amended to “Literature Containing Violence” after we bitched about the original title, “Aesthetics and Politics.” To the extent I’ve internalized the mechanics or the pleasures of close reading and analytical writing, it was due to Pat’s instruction.

When #occupygaddis was proposed on Twitter, I posted it to Facebook, where Pat suggested that J.R. was all right and all, but if I wanted a real book, see, maybe I’d like to check out this Bolaño fellow with him. I jumped at the chance and badgered him into joining us here, despite a professed loathing for blogging software. We’re aiming to have the first section read by next Thursday — Pat will start off each section with a discussion post, and all are welcome to respond in comments or with posts here at the Weblog (or on your own blog). We’ll aim for moving through week by week, without displacing those weekly features that are still running.

Here’s a little more about our 2666 spirit guide:

Patrick O’Connor is Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies and Comparative Literature at Oberlin College, where he has been renting the same ratty house since 2002 after a more prestigious stint at The University of Chicago and a more emotionally satisfying one at Deep Springs College. Besides 20th c. Latin American narrative and film, he is also an impassioned reader of other non-realistic fiction from Ovid through Kafka and beyond. He was at Yale University in the late ’80s when the academy invented queer theory, and likes to treat psychoanalysis as the sort of baroque theoretical edifice which encourages one to suspend disbelief. He is currently working on a book on “posthumous Julio Cortázar.”

Please read along!


July 3, 2012 - Posted by | 2666


  1. Tentative (probable) schedule:

    7/12 – Part One
    7/19 – Parts Two and Three
    7/26 Part Four – 1
    8/2 – Part Four- 2
    8/9 – Part Five -1
    8/16 – Part Five – 2

    Comment by Josh K-sky | July 3, 2012

  2. I’m in. But don’t shoot J.R. It’s a great American novel about how people don’t listen to each other and capitalism colors all, lyrical and twisted and laugh-out-loud.

    Comment by Misha Hoekstra | July 4, 2012

  3. I might be interested in this. How does it work?

    Comment by Erik | July 12, 2012

  4. It’s pretty informal.

    We’ll have at least one post each week with general responses (such as this one) where you’re welcome to post your own responses in the comments. Or engage with specific arguments the bloggers are making.

    You’re also welcome to blog on your own site as you read along. We’ll post links here, or you can just drop them in the comments. Hopefully we’ll enrich each others’ interpretation of the novel. At the very least we’ll spur one another to finish the beast.

    Or… just read along and enjoy.

    Comment by Josh K-sky | July 12, 2012

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