I’ve finally finished 2666.
This last section is my favorite. In it we spend almost 300 pages following the young German, Hans Reiter, as he transitions toward becoming the writer, Benno von Archimboldi. The section begins when Reiter is a young boy and progresses through his whole life. We see him working as a servant for Baron von Zumpe, leaving home and getting work through Hugo Hadler (the Baron’s dodgy nephew), being conscripted into the German army and serving in the light infantry, discovering Ansky’s notebooks while convalescing, deserting as the Russians overrun Germany, murdering a man who killed hundreds of Jews, scraping by in postwar Cologne and starting to write, renting a typewriter and changing his name to Archimboldi, being published by Bubis, watching as Ingeborg becomes sicker and dies, cutting all ties and drifting as a writer/vagabond across the Mediterranean, continuing to have books published, eventually being found by his sister, Lotte, and brought in to help her son, Klaus, who is in Santa Teresa, convicted of killing women.
It all comes back.
Archimboldi leaves for Mexico, and that’s when the four literary critics catch their break in trying to locate him in the beginning of the novel. I feel like I need to go back and see if Archimboldi was able to release Klaus, but I don’t think he was. It seems like dreams and reality overlap in this novel, and Archimboldi has written them all.