The Mongolian Conspiracy

Overview

A gripping and hilarious 1960s Mexico City noirOnly a couple of days before the state visit of the President of the United States, Filiberto García — an impeccably groomed "gun for hire," ex-Mexican revolutionary, and classic anti-hero — is recruited by the Mexican police to discover how much truth there might be to KGB and FBI reports of a Chinese-Mongolian plot to assassinate the Soviet and American presidents during the unveiling of a statue.García kills various bad guys as he searches for clues in the opium ...

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The Mongolian Conspiracy

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Overview

A gripping and hilarious 1960s Mexico City noirOnly a couple of days before the state visit of the President of the United States, Filiberto García — an impeccably groomed "gun for hire," ex-Mexican revolutionary, and classic anti-hero — is recruited by the Mexican police to discover how much truth there might be to KGB and FBI reports of a Chinese-Mongolian plot to assassinate the Soviet and American presidents during the unveiling of a statue.García kills various bad guys as he searches for clues in the opium dens, curio shops, and Cantonese restaurants of Mexico City’s Chinatown — clues that appear to point not to Mongolia, but to Cuba. Yet as the bodies pile up, he begins to find traces of slimy political dealings: are local gears grinding away in these machinations of an "international incident"? Pulsating behind the smokescreen of this classic noir are fierce curses, a shockingly innocent affair,smoldering dialog, and unforgettable riffs about the meaning of life, the Mexican Revolution, women, and the best gun to use for close-range killing.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/30/2013
First published in 1969, this Mexico City noir is a lot of fun and packs an unexpected wallop, despite its Cold War kitsch. Filiberto García, a grizzled hired gun, tries to help foil a suspected plot by Communist Chinese-Mongolians to assassinate the presidents of Mexico and the United States during the latter’s upcoming visit to Mexico City to unveil a statue. Working with agents from the KGB and FBI, García goes deep into the opium dens and restaurants of the city’s Chinatown, where he falls for the beautiful and doomed Marta, a young Chinese woman who brings out García’s dormant chivalrous side. While Bernal (1915–1972) switches freely between third-person and first-person, the style works well and adds a feverish feeling to the novel. The real magic is in the character of García himself, a walking anachronism in the freewheeling counterculture of the late 1960s. This absurdist pastiche is equal parts Richard Stark and Philip Atlee with echoes of Chester Himes and Paco Ignacio Taibo II. (Nov.)
Francisco Goldman
“The best fucking novel ever written about Mexico City.”
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-20
A new translation of a 1960s Mexican noir novel. Bernal (1915-1972) was a prolific writer of novels and plays. Silver's translation of what is considered his literary masterpiece, El Complot Mongol (1969), allows a new generation of readers to discover his writing. The tarnished hero is Filiberto García, a Mexico City assassin whose unique skills make him an indispensable tool for the Mexican government. Yet, his propensity to shoot (or stab) first and ask questions later also makes him an uncomfortable reminder of the more tumultuous time of the revolution. The tension between Filiberto's volatile individuality and the government's increasing bureaucracy comes to a head when he is tasked to work alongside FBI and KGB agents to prevent an assassination of the American and Mexican presidents. While he's working with his American and Soviet counterparts in the seedy underworld of Mexico City's Chinatown, his investigation turns up evidence that the plot may, in fact, be much closer to home. In the process, Filiberto meets a girl whose presence causes him to reassess his long-held views on manhood and compassion. Along the way, he discovers that, much to his chagrin, he carries a conscience. As in the pulp novels of yesteryear, through sparse narrative details and fast-paced dialogue, Filiberto endears himself to the reader as that street-hardened detective who can just never shake his sense of justice. In the tradition of the classic detective novel, a fun and action-filled read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811220668
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 11/25/2013
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 216,410
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Rafael Bernal (1915-1972) was the author of many novels and plays. El Complot Mongol (1969) is regarded as his masterpiece.

Katherine Silver is an award-winning literary translator and the co-director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre (BILTC).

Francisco Goldman, the author of five novels, one book of nonfiction, won the Prix Femina for his latest, Say Her Name.

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