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by Paco Ignacio Taibo II
translated by William I. Neuman
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Sex, murder and gun-toting poets in post-Revolutionary Mexico City.
Dominoes are played by all.

Product Details

10-digit ISBN1-933693-00-2
13-digit ISBN9781933693002
Page Count240
Product Dimensions6" x 9"
Publication DateOctober 1, 2006
RightsAll Rights Available
The Shadow of the Shadow follows four men who meet to play dominos in a hotel bar in Mexico City in 1922. They are a motley group—a gun-toting 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.”

Left to their own devices, the group would have waited out Carranza’s presidency in their own quietly besotted fashion, ignoring the betrayal of the Mexican Revolution. But they witness a series of strangely related murders and begin to suspect a conspiracy involving the oil-rich lands of the Gulf Coast, greedy army officers, and American industrialists.

Critics have hailed The Shadow of the Shadow as the best of Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s historical novels. Issues of oil, American imperialism, extortion, and government corruption give the novel a distinctly contemporary ring.
Publisher's Weekly
This glorious novel reads as if James M. Cain and Dashiell Hammett had collaborated with Gabriel Garcia Marquez on a version of The Three Musketeers set in 1920s, postrevolutionary Mexico City. Taibo’s (An Easy Thing) four memorable protagonists champion the rights of the common man against corrupt military and police officials, Chinese tongs, a secret anarchist cadre and assorted criminals in this romp through turbulent and romantic times. Caught unwittingly in an intrigue spawned between Mexican army officials and U.S. oil barons, these four not-so-young friends—a war veteran/poet, a disreputable lawyer, a Chinese Mexican union organizer and a crusading crime reporter—walk through a landscape of dead bodies and mysterious women to prove that the power of the press and true commitment to ideals can beat all odds. Insights into each character and delightful surprises on nearly every page of this literate historical thriller support one of the characters’ contention that crime writing is “where you find the real literature of life.”
Library Journal
"Mexico's foremost crime novelist masterfully evokes a bygone era. His quirky characters are as endearing as they are well-drawn."
- October 19, 2006 
ForeWord Magazine
The book is a fictionalized account of trade unions’ growing pains and big oil’s sleazy trigger-pulling within Obregon’s government. Taibo is Mexico’s premier crime novelist, with history and politics always participating in the murder and mayhem...Taibo’s nimble and colorful prose and his picture of early twentieth-century Mexico City is beyond compare.
- May 1, 2008 
full review >>
Kirkus Reviews
"A high-spirited historical fantasy...Every new revelation seems to give Taibo's madly spinning top another lash."
- October 19, 2006 
Columbus Dispatch
The Shadow of the Shadow is ostensibly about imperialism (foreign oil interests might be behind all the murders) and nationalism (with a small "n") and the struggle to establish labor unions in an anarchic country. But Taibo never beats the reader with the message. His characters talk and drink and sometimes fight; then they talk some more. They escape attempts on their lives, all the while moving closer to the Shadow, a nebulous presence that threatens them all.

The heroes are warmblooded creatures, living and breathing in a palpable world, expertly described by their creator...These are easy characters to root for -- beaten down but not defeated, bewildered but unafraid, smart but brutal. Taibo has it both ways: He paints modest studies of humans as well as a mural of Mexican politics, history and the labor movement.
- January 14, 2007 
full review >>
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