In 1991, Paco Taibo II wrote The Shadow of a Shadow, a book about four men who meet to play dominos in a hotel bar in Mexico City. The time is 1922, and the men are a motley group—a poet who makes a living writing advertisements for patent medicine, a radical Chinese-Mexican union organizer, a lawyer who represents prostitutes, and a newspaper crime reporter who churns out pages of copy "like links of sausage in a chorizo factory." As the story builds, the crime novel becomes a tale of international intrigue.
Returning as Shadows revisits these men nearly twenty years later. Much has changed, in the world and for the four friends. War rages in Europe while the world waits for the in Europe while the world waits for the inevitable entry of the United States. German agents throng Mexico City, working to bring America's southern neighbor into the Axis.
And the four men? They've gone four different ways. Returning as Shadows goes back and forth between these men's lives, slowly drawing the threads back together. Surprises keep popping up. For example, Ernest Hemingway, having overindulged at his Cuban hacienda, is suddenly transported into a poker game with one of the characters.
The men are indeed shadows, their experiences dreamlike but bursting with meaning. Read, and see why Le Monde calls Taibo "one of the best narrative clowns of our time."
About Paco Ignacio Taibo II
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Published January 24, 2003
by Thomas Dunne Books.
Literature & Fiction.