Mentally, as I near the end of this monstrous book, I'm trying to keep track of the recurring themes that make all five books of the novel cohesive.
Here is the most interesting article, by the by about the book:
Alone Among The Ghosts
Here is a tentative list of themes in the book:
Madness/Insanity especially suffered by artists (the painter who cut his hand off, the poet who went to the asylum, the wife of Amalfitano who moved into a cemetery)
Madness/Insanity as a larger stratum (the asylum director, for instance)
The idea of the Real Story that the journalists only discover later, the real story being Crime and its Perpetuation
The concept of The Sacred (in films, in Mexico, the experience of the Penitent as his so-called sacraphobia, or fear of sacred objects)
The eroticization of death/the thanatization of eros.
Infirmities and diseases (Morini's disability, Amalfitano's wife who dies of AIDS, Archimboldi's girlfriend who is sick, etc.)
Murder and atrocity, especially committed against women (300 pages of the novel are devoted to examining this)
The emotional crises of men set against a backdrop of violence against women
The writer as detective/the detective as writer
The futility of finding Archimboldi/the futility of finding the Santa Theresa killers
The oceanic symbolism of Archimboldi/the oceanic desert of Santa Theresa and Sonora
Recurring ideas of Image and Semblance, their variances
Sensuality and lust amidst squalor, war and atrocity
Life as dream morping into nightmare and back again
etc., etc., etc., etc.