Byline: DAVID SEXTON
2666: A NOVEL by Roberto Bolano, translated by Natasha Wimmer (Picador, [pounds sterling]20)
ROBERTO Bolano died in July 2003, at the age of 50, in hospital in Barcelona while waiting for a liver transplant. He had known for more than 10 years that his liver was severely compromised, probably from hepatitis C contracted while he was a heroin addict.
For five years he had been working furiously on this enormous novel before his death and hoped to do more. In June 2003, he told a Spanish paper that he had to correct more than a thousand pages, "labour worthy of a 19th-century miner", and would do it after the operation.
"I am third on a list to receive a transplant". He never made it to the top.
Bolano was born in Santiago, Chile, the son of a truck driver and a teacher.
The family travelled around a lot and, when Roberto was 15, moved to Mexico City. As an adolescent, he read ravenously and started writing poetry, but he was also dyslexic and dropped out of …