Near the end of The Part About Amalfitno, he ponders the literary tastes of a bookish, young pharmacist whom he knew back in Barcelona.
He chose The Metamorphosis over The Trial, he chose Bartleby over Moby-Dick, he chose A Simple Heart over Bouvard and Pécuchet, and A Christmas Carol over A Tale of Two Cities or The Pickwick Papers. What a sad paradox, thought Amalfitano. Now even bookish pharmacists are afraid to take on the great, imperfect, torrential works, books that blaze paths into the unknown. They choose the perfect exercises of the great masters. Or what amounts to the same thing: they want to watch the great masters spar, but they have no interest in real combat, when the great masters struggle against that something, that something that terrifies us all, that something that cows us and spurs us on, amid blood and mortal wounds and stench.
This seems to me to be Bolaño's manifesto regarding his own intentions in writing 2666. His intent was to write one of those "great, imperfect, torrential works" that would take on “that something that terrifies us all.”