Latest Issue

When we dead awaken

Has the first great novel of the 21st century just arrived from South America? Roberto Bolaño's last novel is something quite unexpected—a critically garlanded epic of conspicuous virtuosity that's funny, filthy, sometimes boring and obsessed with violent death

By Tom Chatfield   February 2009

2666 by Roberto Bolaño (Picador, £20)

Born in Chile in 1953, Roberto Bolaño moved to Mexico at the age of 15, then came to Europe at 24, where he wandered, worked odd jobs by day and wrote poetry by night. It was a strange apprenticeship for a writer in the second half of the 20th century: not so much a baptism of fire as of silence, of total marginalisation in the public world of letters. Writing in 1999, Bolaño recalled himself at the age of 28, still three years away from publishing his first book of poetry: “I was living…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect