The Little Engine that Could

Even among those of us tracking various things over at, the fatigue of reading the part about the crimes is starting to take its toll. This is just a quick little note of encouragement for others following along who may also be growing weary. Just two more weeks until we’re out of the current pit of despair. I don’t remember a whole lot about the final section from when I read it a year ago, but I do remember that it was during that final part that I began to see why people thought this was a good book. Hold on for two more weeks, my friends, and things will get better. The best writing, if I remember correctly, is yet to come.

7 thoughts on “The Little Engine that Could

  1. Paul March 25, 2010 / 2:33 pm

    That is very encouraging. Thank you. Despair is setting in by the horizon is not far.

  2. Dan Summers March 25, 2010 / 4:32 pm

    I am only reading each week’s allotment, to avoid accidentally posting about something and thus spoiling it for readers who are sticking to the schedule. I have less than ten pages to go for this week’s bit, and there is some encouragement in knowing that there’s only one more section of the Crimes to go. I will happily be done with it.

    Love it or hate it, I’m sticking it out through the end. Because the five Parts have been so very different thus far, I’m willing to have faith that there’s something in the last Part that makes it transformative for the book as a whole.

  3. adamgn March 25, 2010 / 7:59 pm

    I was ahead in the readings and going strong, until I got to this section. I’ve basically stopped reading waiting for the group to catch up. But now, I just don’t want to pick it up! That being said, I will at some point, if only because I want to read the last part.

    It is very, very difficult.

  4. Todd Murry March 25, 2010 / 10:03 pm

    I shot ahead and just finished today (apologies to all). I really thought the book would slow me down enough, and I would loose my head start, but it never happened. I remember feeling a little… oppressed?.. it was oppressive… during the part about the crimes, but looking back, it was one of my favorite parts. Actually, what I really like about the book was the stuff in Mexico (i.e. Santa Theresa, I guess) in general, regardless of the part, which was awesome, and I found the rest of the stuff anywhere from only decent to eye rolling. I think if you persevere, you’ll look back on it like high school, or something – torture to go through, but retrospectively the best it ever was.

    How’s that for encouragement.

    Incidentally, I found the Part about Archimboldi lees great than others have. I just feel Bolano is like Garth Ennis (one of my favorite comic writers) – he’s got two modes: one serious and affecting, and the other black (almost depraved) but somehow childish humor. I prefer the serious in both.

    The book comes together incompletely but is still well worth it (I’m sure IJ vets will not be daunted by this prospect). I have a lot of ideas that I haven’t seen anyone else mention here about what this all means (Alfie), but I think I should wait till’ the end to get into it.

  5. Joan March 26, 2010 / 12:08 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement – definitely needed. I had to laugh as I remembered some of the advice when we embarked on Infinite Summer last year – just hang in there for the first 100 or 150 pages then you’ll be in; now with this one I just need to hang in there for the first 650 or so pages, then it gets good!! It’s tough, but I am treking along. I’ve finally started to put together some ideas for a post and it’s in draft status now – should be up in the next day or so.

  6. Jeff Anderson March 26, 2010 / 7:45 pm

    Any mention of The Princess Bride, which I will take “pit of despair” to be whether you intended it as one or not, is good encouragement. I thank you, and my nerves thank you.

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