From Publishers Weekly
Sepúlveda packs more than three decades of Chilean history into this lean and darkly humorous novel. Three aging revolutionaries—Cacho Salinas, Lolo Garmendia, and Lucho Arancibia—reunite to pull off one final, spectacular heist, gathering in a hideout to await the arrival of the Shadow, a legendary Robin Hood–type anarchist. As the comrades with their graying beards, thinning hair, and chubby physiques wait, they revisit the past and ruminate on losses: after Pinochet's coup, Cacho and Lolo fled to Europe, while Lucho, whose brothers were murdered by the regime, stayed and endured torture that has left him brain damaged. Meanwhile, and unbeknownst to the trio, the Shadow lies dead on the sidewalk, struck down by a freak accident. Although the narrator frequently runs away with the story, trailing off into history lessons, Sepúlveda maintains a high level of suspense as the police investigate the Shadow's death, and Cacho, Lolo, and Lucho decide whether to go through with their plan, turning their collective sorrows into a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit. (Feb.)
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Decades after they were forced into hiding by the Pinochet government, four aging revolutionaries reunite to plot one final mission, a coda to their revolutionary years and perhaps an act of resistance to today�s changed world. Actually, it�s only three aging revolutionaries: that night their leader, the Shadow, is accidentally killed by a falling record player hurled from a window amid a domestic quarrel. As Detective Adela Bobadilla, member of the first (and possibly the last) generation of police officers with clean hands, and her boss, the intrepid Inspector Crespo, try to get to the bottom of the mysterious death, our revolutionaries reminisce about their exploits, their exile, and the lasting legacy of the Allende years. Portraying his characters with gentle humor, Sep�lveda (The Old Man Who Read Love Stories, 1989; Eng. trans., 1995) skillfully lures readers into thinking of the aging revolutionaries as comic figures: silly, grandiose, perhaps overly nostalgic. But the Shadow, it turns out, had a surprise planned for his former comrades in arms, and, amid all the delightful levity, Sep�lveda drives home some deadly serious points about the legacy of the intervening Pinochet years and the possibility of justice. --Brendan Driscoll