“2666”

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“At that moment it seemed to the teacher as if a sudden, perfectly orchestrated silence fell over Calle Rubén Darío: radios were turned down, the chatter of the living was suddenly muted, and only Cesárea’s voice was left. And then the teacher saw or thought she saw a plan of the canning factory pinned to the wall. And as she was listening to what Cesárea had to tell her, in words that were neither faltering nor rushed, words that the teacher would rather have forgotten, but that she remembers perfectly well and even understands, understands now anyway, her eyes were drawn to the plan of the factory, a plan that Cesárea had drawn with great attention to certain details, leaving other parts shadowy or vague, complete with notations in the margins, although sometimes what was written was illegible and other times it was all in capital letters and even followed by exclamation marks, as if Cesárea were seeing herself in her handdrawn map, or seeing facets of herself that she had until then overlooked. And then the teacher had to sit down on the edge of the bed, although she didn’t want to, and close her eyes and listen to what Cesárea was saying. And even though she was feeling worse and worse, she had the courage to ask Cesárea why she had drawn the plan. And Cesárea said something about days to come, although the teacher imagined that if Cesárea had spent time on that senseless plan it was simply because she lived such a lonely life. But Cesárea spoke of times to come and the teacher, to change the subject, asked her what times she meant and when they would be. And Cesárea named a date, sometime around the year 2600. Two thousand six hundred and something. And then, when the teacher couldn’t help but laugh at such a random date, a smothered little laugh that could scarcely be heard, Cesárea laughed again, although this time the thunder of her laughter remained within the confines of her own room.”

The Savage Detectives, Roberto Bolaño

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