That’s the name that Paco Ignacio Taibo II is known by. He is a Mexican novelist, author of a real variety of works which range from anarchistic crime novels to creative biographies of people like Che Guevara and Pancho Villa.

He also wrote the definite personal account of Mexico City in 1968, called simply ’68. It was recently translated into English for the first time ever, by none other than my old friend Donald Nicholson Smith.

The book I am reading now while on the road is called The Shadow Of The Shadow and so far it’s great, if a bit formulaic. But hey, it’s a crime novel. It’s a freewheeling story of four friends, a Chinese-Mexican union organizer, a poet, a journalist, and a lawyer in 1922 post-revolution Mexico City, who become involved in a murder mystery. Taibo draws freely from history, politics, and his love of the city to make what is as of this posting a fun read. I really wish more U.S. writers were able to pull off such work: fiction that is politically informed but not proselytizing, didactic, or a full-on bore. What I mean is that first and foremost it’s a good story. Yes, yes, yes, to great stories!


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