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comment by NikolaiFyodorov
NikolaiFyodorov  ·  3184 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski Book Club 2666 pt 1 discussion thread

I'm detecting a certain amount of reservation for 2666 based on readers' dislike for Espinoza and Pelletier. No doubt I'm more sympathetic to these two than most (probably I resemble them too much), but how many of you really think affection for a character is requisite to appreciate their story? I recall Confederacy of Dunces once being touted by several hubskiers as their favourite novel; for all Espinoza and Pelletier's flaws, they're considerably more self-aware and exhibit far less bastardry than Ignatius J. Reilly. I guess this demonstrates the different expectations we have of heroes in comic novels than we do in novels like 2666.

That aside, and what surprises me most about this thread up to now, is that nobody's mentioned how hilarious this book is. Really, some of the university conference debates, and the early conversations between Pelletier and Espinoza to maintain their friendship while they are both sleeping with Norton, were comic gold. The scene with Espinoza trawling television channels for confirmation that Pelletier has been killed in a plane crash (and Norton greeting Pelletier with this news when he walks through the door) was brilliant. And how about Espinoza's take on Ring?

tl;dr: I fucking loved the first part. Can't wait to get started on the second.

humanodon  ·  3184 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There are most definitely funny moments, but for me, one key difference between A Confederacy of Dunces is the element of surprise. I'm in this constant state of mild surprise while reading and I think that keeps the humor from landing a solid hit with me. I enjoy this book in a way that I used to enjoy talking to a homeless guy named Bear who would eat ice-cream when it was snowing, so he wouldn't feel cold. I suppose that might be true, but it might not be. I don't know what to "believe" with this book, so I don't know how to suspend my disbelief, which is something the book touches on.

¦First you can't believe it and then you think it's incredible.¦

I don't know how to read this book yet and I think that's a desired effect, but of course I have to cycle through the ways I might usually find meaning.

hiss  ·  3180 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Really well put on both points. Pelletier and Espinoza are Rosencranz and Guildenstern. They're also, as others have pointed out, mere archetypes. Their "character" as such doesn't matter. I'm a little sore that was so sorely missed, but I have the benefit of hindsight working in my favor as I've read the book once before, closer to its initial publication. Just know that P+E as depictions of specific, individual character-people don't matter as much as P+E as depictions of how, more generally, people are and/or can be. That's why it's so damn funny.