- Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh,
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz,
- The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst,
- Hairstyles of the Damned by Joe Meno, and
- The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.
But two weeks ago, I embarked on the very promising 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, but for some reason I have barely been able to get through fifty pages. Maybe it’s the fact that I am reading the novel in Spanish or that I have been distracted with other things, but I simply cannot get myself to care about any of the characters. They all seem very forced and trite, almost as if I had already read the story before and didn’t like it the first time. Furthermore, the interminable, never-ending, page long sentences, typical of both formal and informal Spanish writing, gets on my nerves. At times I find myself wondering if Bolaño was being paid by the word, or if he really needed to add yet another comma and phrase to the already uninteresting run-on sentence. “I got the point, Roberto, can we move on?” With the exception of Garcia Marquez’s beautiful sentences (Borges wrote short stories, not novels), I am beginning to question whether the Spanish language is cut out for novels. While I do believe Spanish, with its ability to reverse the order of the subject and predicate, is better suited to poetry than English, I do now have my reserves about Spanish prose.
In any event, I have yet to decide whether to keep fighting through the 1300 page 2666 — it might be great in the end — or to re-read something that I really love, preferably Haruki Murakami’s The Wind Up Bird Chronicle.