2666, laugh riot
There’s something of a sad joke near the beginning of 2666: Morini, one of the four critics in the first chapter, “The Part About the Critics”, is found reading a cookbook by the poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. The same joke is told at the very end of the book, when Archimboldi meets a descendant of Fürst Pückler, a writer and botanist remembered now for his delicious ice cream.
Morini, reading Sor Juana’s cookbook, is approached by a man who used to work at a business which makes mugs with slogans. He quit his job when pictures–first black and white, then color–were added to the mugs. He tells his now-former manager, “That the bloody mugs didn’t bother me before and now they’re destroying me inside.”
To be a poet remembered for your cooking, or a travel writer remembered for your ice cream, is funny and sad enough; to be crushed by your work is even sadder, and even funnier. I suppose that being remembered for nothing at all, or to be crushed by your work and continue anyway, would be sadder and funnier still.