Four Hands

Overview

Greg Simon and Julio Fernandez are investigative jounalists who are chasing down an elaborate conspiracy plot. The story they discover and type out together weaves truth with lies, wild humor with tragedy, and reality with fantasy—a stranger-than-fiction tale of imperial excess where delusion makes perfect sense.

Stan Laurel, one of the heroes of Four Hands, wanders into Mexico and witnesses the assassination of Pancho Villa. There follow other episodes, centered on...

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Overview

Greg Simon and Julio Fernandez are investigative jounalists who are chasing down an elaborate conspiracy plot. The story they discover and type out together weaves truth with lies, wild humor with tragedy, and reality with fantasy—a stranger-than-fiction tale of imperial excess where delusion makes perfect sense.

Stan Laurel, one of the heroes of Four Hands, wanders into Mexico and witnesses the assassination of Pancho Villa. There follow other episodes, centered on Greg, an American journalist, and Julio, his Mexican friend and collaborator. Taibo gives the reader a plethora of brilliant characters in this panoramic novel that moves backward and forward in time.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Two journalists-one Mexican, the other American-each tell the story of a plot to vilify the Nicaraguan Sandinistas in this complex tale that weaves together real and fictional characters including Pancho Villa, Stan Laurel and Harry Houdini. (July)
Library Journal
At times reminiscent of Doctorow's work, Four Hands is a glorious documentary-style novel, offbeat and usually comic. Taibo (Some Clouds, LJ 6/1/92) focuses on two 1980s journalists. Both partners and friends, Mexican Julio Fernndez and North American Greg Simon write about politics and revolution for the likes of Mother Jones and Rolling Stone. Interwoven with their stories are strands of fiction and fictionalized nonfiction that span the decades of the 20th century, roaming from the Americas to Europe and back. Other characters include Stan Laurel, Leon Trotsky, and civil engineer and anti-Sandinista Ben Linder. Taibo, who lives in Mexico City, is already well known to Spanish-language readers. This novel belongs in all strong contemporary literature collections.-Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, Ore.
Donna Seaman
Taibo is usually considered a crime writer due to such anarchistic detective novels as No Happy Ending , but even though espionage plays a role here, this hilariously disorienting tale is too slippery for a genre designation. The title refers to lucrative if frequently ludicrous partnerships, such as that of Laurel and Hardy (Stan Laurel plays a key role in this complicated narrative), and the collaboration of the novel's main characters, journalists Greg and Julio. Greg, Jewish and chronically alienated, is the photographer, while Julio, loquacious and sanguine, does most of the writing, although, four-handedly, they manage to crank out articles in both Spanish and English, doubling their earning potential. As they track down their latest story amid the chaos and fervor of Latin American politics, war, gun trading, and drug dealing, they inadvertently parallel Operation Snow White, the goofy, most likely pointless brainchild of a CIA operative named Alex. Taibo's cleverly fractured yet unmistakably pointed plot involves dwarfs both literal and figurative, Houdini, a long-lost manuscript of a mystery written by Trotsky, and wonderfully caustic musings on the cult of information. Taibo ranges all over the map, and we follow, curious and entertained.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312109875
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/6/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 378
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.43 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Paco Ignacio Taibo II is a Mexican historian and writer, the author of numerous cfrime novels, historical works and the founder of Semana Negra, the annual international crime writers' congress in Spain. He lives in Mexico City with his wife and daughter.

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