In this elegant and literate adventure novel set in 1920's post-revolutionary Mexico, Paco Ignacio Taibo II is searching for a hero, specifically a leftist hero, and he thinks he has found him in the person of Sebastián San Vicente. But everyone-including the baffled novelist-is trying to figure out exactly who San Vicente really is. There is some record of San Vicente in FBI records during the Wilson era, and some mention of him in anarchist records and rumors, but the rest has to be filled in. And who better to do this than Taibo? Meanwhile-with Taibo busy in the background trying to resolve the mystery of his hero's identity-San Vicente goes about his heroic avocation of organizing strikes against the capitalists, dodging thugs and hiding out from the Mexican Army.
"As an activist in Mexico in the '60s, Paco Ignacio Taibo II began a search for figures in leftist history that his generation could look up to. Today an internationally famous detective novelist (An Easy Thing, etc), the writer has validated his quest with a novel-documentary, in which he reimagines a historical figure-a mysterious Spanish anarchist named Sebastián San Vicente. Casting himself in a tale set 29 years before he was born, Taibo chronicles his present-day research and depicts a range of first person characters (some of them real figures) who engage with the elusive anarchist. Incorporating historical documents or documents based on fact-letters, telegrams, police files, etc.-the author further blurs the boundary between fact and fiction. Taibo's affectionate account of working-class culture in a phase of heroic struggle is a perfect little jeu d'esprit."-Publisher's Weekly
"…a hilariously funny novel that satirizes every possible aspect of the politics and social fabric of 20th-century Mexico. Taibo is one of Mexico's most popular writers, known for his detective fiction and more mainstream novels like Leonardo's Bicycle. Then again, mainstream may be the wrong word-in the latter two titles, as in this, Taibo plays with the definitions of novel, history, politics and time. Very highly recommended."-Library Journal (starred review)