Monday, July 02, 2007

Paco Ignacio Taibo II's An Easy Thing

I read Paco Ignacio Tabio II’s An Easy Thing, and have put it on the side bar. I am becoming a big fan of his fiction. This particular book is the most conventional of the three I’ve read, a straightforward detective story with three separate threads (including one about whether Emiliano Zapata was still alive) plus one about his family.

His characters are compelling, and the most likable are always seamier—Hector Belascoarán Shayne himself wanders Mexico City at all hours, encountering an eclectic collection of people, constantly smoking cigarettes and drinking soda. Government officials—and the police in particular—are uniformly crooked. As always, the city itself is portrayed as a living, breathing thing, beautiful in its own way but also tragic. Belascoarán Shayne also periodically thinks about Mexican politics and society (in this case, reflecting the 1970s, when the book was originally published).

It was part of what it meant to him to be Mexican, sharing in the general bitching over the rise in prices, the cost of tortillas, increases in bus fares, pulling his hair out over the TV news, cursing the police and government corruption. Cursing the whole sad state of affairs, the great national garbage dump that Mexico had become. For Hector it was a matter of solidarity, of brotherhood, the shared complaints, the shared disgust, the shared pride. Earning the right to call himself un mexicano, guarding himself against the curse of starlets like Marisa Ferrer. It kept him in touch with his people (pp. 18-19).

Like with a lot of detective fiction, the attitudes and atmosphere are as fun as the stories. Even if you don’t know anything about Mexico, it is a worthwhile read and even has a twist at the end.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP