Imaginary Breadth


Encountered this with little context. No, not another excerpt from 2666, but one from another Bolaño novel that I’ve not yet cracked. It’ll be my last quote of his for a bit. Promise. Like I said, I’ve no idea what it’s about; it was a sharp-toed boot landing between my ribs and I’m just now waking and demanding to know who aimed the kick. If ever I write such a stunning trio of sentences, I’ll recline in my chair, park my own boots atop my desk, and from there the undertaker will in time come to collect a most smiling young stiff.

I followed them: I saw them go down Bucareli to Reforma with a spring in their step and then cross to Reforma without waiting for the lights to change, their long hair blowing in the excess wind that funnels down Reforma at that hour of the night, turning it into a transparent tube or an elongated lung exhaling the city’s imaginary breath. Then we walked down the Avenida Guerrero; they weren’t stepping so lightly any more, and I wasn’t feeling too enthusiastic either. Guerrero, at that time of night, is more like a cemetery than an avenue, not a cemetery in 1974 or in 1968, or 1975, but a cemetery in the year 2666, a forgotten cemetery under the eyelid of a corpse or an unborn child, bathed in the dispassionate fluids of an eye that tried so hard to forget one particular thing that it ended up forgetting everything else.

-from Roberto Bolaño’s Amulet


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