NEW YORK – The National Book Critics Circle has awarded its prize for best novel of 2008 to the English translation of Chilean author Roberto Bolaño’s posthumous masterpiece, “2666.”
The announcement was made here Thursday night by the American non-profit organization of approximately nine hundred active book reviewers, which also hands out awards each year in the categories of general non-fiction, biography, autobiography, poetry and criticism.
Publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux arranged for “2666” to be translated into English and released in the United States last November.
The work has received near-universal acclaim from critics, who have mentioned Bolaño (1953-2003) in the same breath as other Latin American 20th-century literary titans like Argentines Julio Cortazar and Jorge Luis Borges.
“Bolaño creates a new mental geography for American readers. He makes a new Latin American literature take shape in their minds as something urban, cerebral and global, instead of rural, magical and local,” Natasha Wimmer, who translated “2666” into English, told Efe last year.
More than 900 pages long, what turned out to be Bolaño’s last novel was recognized even before it was published in English as the best book of 2008 by Time magazine.
Bolaño worked until shortly before his death from liver disease on “2666,” which is divided into five parts and revolves around a group of scholars dedicated to the work of a reclusive German novelist, with the crimes of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico as backdrop. EFE