Roberto Bolaño's novel 2666 is set in several countries in both Europe and the Americas, and thus might be conceived as belonging to the genre of the cosmopolitan or multinational novel. However, the novel's longest and most famous section, “The Part about the Crimes,” is set in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and tells a story not of multinationalism but rather of indigenism and the local effects of U.S. and Mexican immigration and trade policies, specifically the decades-long record of murders of young Indian women from southern Mexico, Guatemala, or points farther south. In this context, the article highlights two painful ironies: first, the irony that, at a time when postcolonial and other critics emphasize post-nationalism, cultural hybridity, and a borderless world, the U.S.-Mexico border is more fortified, and the rhetoric about illegal immigration more intense than at any time in living memory; and second, that the post-9/11 proliferation of nativist rhetoric and factions has occurred precisely at a time when immigration from the South is at its lowest in decades, and when American cities—especially border cities like El Paso—have never been safer (see note 5).

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