Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 : serial murder and narrative necrosis
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities
This article explores the representation of serial murder in Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, focusing in particular on Part Four, “The Part About the Crimes,” which provides a thinly fictionalized account of the notorious femicides that have afflicted the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez over the last two and a half decades. What impact does this extensive litany of dead bodies have on the novel’s plot trajectory, its production of meaning, and its proairetic qualities? What, precisely, does the recitation of such atrocities do to the fictional discourse it generates? In the following article, I argue that the unrelenting seriality of this section induces what we might call a “narrative necrosis,” whereby the tissue of the narrative itself undergoes a process of decomposition. More specifically, I would like to suggest that such repetition serves to undermine the narrativity of the novel and, in so doing, emphasizes the collective, systemic, and interminable nature of these appalling crimes.
Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction
© 2018 Taylor & Francis. All rights reserved. This paper was published in Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction and is made available with permission of Taylor & Francis.