2666

Heavyweight epic from the late Chilean author Roberto Bolaño, who died before publication.

Divided into five parts -

The Part about the Critics 
The Part about Amalfitano 
The Part about Fate 
The Part about the Crimes 
The Part about Archimboldi 

- this is a novel that starts out following four university literary critics on an obsessive search for an obscure German author, which then explodes to take in everything from philosophical rants, to politics, to the second world war, to Harlem boxers, making reference to everyone from Duchamp to David Lynch, all the while circling around a horrific series of murders and rapes in the Mexican border town of Santa Teresa as the various characters are drawn there for different reasons.

Just short of 1000 pages in the English translation, it's a demanding work that draws you in to multiple storylines and mysteries, offering up densely fascinating and accurately drawn portraits of all the many characters we meet without losing any momentum or drive. 2666 veers off into uncharted territory, shifting tone and style as it jumps around different moments in history and countries, and yet it feels entirely focused. It's brutally shocking, beautiful, dark and arch; funny, warm and moving - a thrilling vision of how much novels can still do. If you read one book this year (and if you're a slow reader, it literally might be one with 2666...) you won't be disappointed.