— Field Notes

Santa Teresa aka Juarez Mexico

In the sprawling grandiose novel by Roberto Bolaño, 2666 the town of Santa Teresa is a stand in for Ciudad Juárez. The NPR radio show Day to Day is doing a series about the problem of violence in Ciudad Juárez. It is a three part series, I have heard the first two.

The focus of the radio segments is the gang violence, but the deaths of the 400+  and disappearance of over 4000 women over the last ten years predates the gang violence and might be considered the opening act. These are gritty  realistic reports of a horrendous situation.

Anyone who has read 2666 should listen to the series, Bolaño  has taken the facts and made them the  integral to the novel.   I have written more about 2666 at Text By NorthWest

The dark core of the novel focuses on Saint Teresa which is a fictional representation of Ciudad Juárez, the border town, site of many grisly murders of women and girls. These murders are fictionalized and documented by Bolaño and make for difficult reading. 2666 is both linear and a non-linear in style. It consists of stories within stories, many of the characters tell stories to each other or relate dreams to the reader. It makes for a complex plot.

The center of the novel called The Part About The Crimes is more realistic less poetic more like reportage. The real Ciudad Juárez is a part of a vast “Metroplex” of more than 2 million people. It is in the juncture of three states Texas, New Mexico and Chilhuahua Mexico. It is the largest border community in the world and is growing at an astounding 5% a year. In 2666 Ciudad Juárez is a nightmare world.

I would be very interested in what others think about an Bolaño  intentions and how well the novel conveys those intentions.

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