La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

I don't remember where I first heard about this, but Subcomandante Marcos of the EZLN and Mexico's best-known mystery novelist, Paco Ignacio Taibo II have collaborated on a new novel: Muertos Incomodos (Uncomfortable Dead). The two have never met, and wrote separate sections, which were then put together. Something I read earlier said that Marcos contacted Taibo with the idea of writing a novel. Taibo was working on another project, but couldn't resist the opportunity.

Marcos and Taibo agreed to write separate chapters about separate mysteries, and their two protagonists were to meet at the Monumento a la Revolucion in Mexico City at some point in the novel to join forces to fight evil.

I enjoy Taibo's mysteries, though his recurring character, Hector Belascoaran Shayne, can be a bit too philosophical for my taste. He's a Mexico City detective with a bad eye, limp, and eccentric siblings. He shares his downtown detective office with a plumber, upolsterer, and a third working-class guy whose job escapes me. Some of his books are political, like No Happy Ending, which is about a government sponsored massacre of university students in the early 1970s (not the 1968 massacre that is more well known). The government has released many documents about this particular event in the last few years, so I often include this in the list of books that my undergrad students can read in my Latin American politics class. It's a short book, and provides some insight into Mexicans' distrust of the government. Particularly striking is a shootout in the middle of a downtown street during the mid-1980s (when the book is set) where no one tries to stop the protagonist from leaving the scene after him and his buddy shoot some bad guys.

Anyway, here is an article about the new book by Marcos and Taibo on Yahoo! Mexico article.

And the leftist La Jornada newspaper published one of the later chapters of the book written by Marcos. You can read it online here. This excerpt suggests that the book will have no shortage of political jabs.

For instance, here's an excerpt from the chapter online (sorry, accents are missing):

...el Alakazam me estaba explicando como hace sus magias, que sea esas coasas que apareces y desaparece cosas y que lee el pensamiento de la gente. Y entonces yo muy no le entendi y el me explico que el hace que la gente mire una mano y ya con la otra mano esconde o saca lo que tiene escondido. Y entonce yo le pregunte si es como hacen los politicos que te ponen a mirar una cosa mientras por otro lado estan haciendo sus maldades. Y entonces el Alakazam me dijo que eso mero, pero que los politicos no eran magos sino que eran unos hijos de puta, asi dijo....

A rough English translation of the above:

...Alakazam (a magician) was explaining to me how he works his magic, so that things appear and disappear and that he reads people's minds. And then, I didn't really understand him and he explained to me that he makes the people look at one hand and with the other hand hides or reveals what he has hidden. And then I asked him if it is like the politicians do, making you look at one thing while they do bad things the other way. And then Alakazam told me that this was it sort of, but that politicians were not magicians but were sons of bitches, that's what he said...

I haven't found a publisher listing or expected publication date, but I'll be sure to read the book.

posted by Michelle @ 7:49 PM,


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