07 March 2010
Pages 353-404: Mexican Zoetrope
I speculated in the Fourth Installment entry about the possibility that when Bolaño was writing the passages concerning Professor Kessler and Hugh Thomas's book, The Slave Trade, he was considering how he might use words in the service of revelation rather than avoidance in writing The Part About the Crimes.
Then Matt in his Tidbits piece got me focused on Professor Plateau and his invention that ultimately lead to the zoetrope.
I have finished my second reading of pages 353 through 404 of The Part About the Crimes. I originally gauged Bolaño's intentions here to be to bring to each of these murder victims some small identity—to force us to contemplate them each individually for a moment. Words in the service of revelation rather than avoidance. I still think that.
However, as the crime victims fluttered by me this time, they became as individual images in an animation machine and a kind of persistent perception was implanted in my mind. The victims blended back together again into one image. The body of a young woman with long hair, about five feet seven inches tall (tall for a Mexican woman), partially clothed, lying out in some vacant area along with garbage. But the odd thing is that there is no resulting animation. All is still.