It's a short week around here in the run-up to our usual holiday break but we're devoting what time we do have to running some exclusive guest contributions on 2666. The first up is this brief consideration of Bolaño's use of non-sequitur offered up by Natasha Wimmer, translator of 2666 and The Savage Detectives (The contributions get longer as the week goes on ... ):
It could be argued that the non-sequitur is Bolaño's trademark literary device, and that in it reside all the temptations and terrors of the random. This is evident in both his storytelling and his imagery. Each section of 2666 is increasingly a collection of stories within a story, culminating in the tale of a Russian Jewish science fiction writer in Part V, which itself breaks down into any number of side-stories. A disquisition on Courbet leads to the following cascade: The Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine recalls spies or shipwrecked sailors enjoying a brief rest, and Ansky goes on to say: spies from another planet, and also: bodies that wear out more quickly than other bodies, and also: disease, the transmission of disease, and also: the willingness to stand firm, and also: where does one learn to stand firm? in what kind of school or university? And also: factories, desolate streets, brothels, prisons, and also: the Unknown University. The critic Patricia Espinosa calls this tendency in Bolaño an anarchizing rebellion, an impulse toward permanent revolution -- the logic of dispersion.