RARA-AVIS: "Leonardo's bicycle" by Paco Ignacio Taibo II

From: Etienne Borgers ( wbac1203@wanadoo.be)
Date: 20 Sep 2002

I recently read a novel by Paco Ignacio Taibo II : La bicicletta de Leonardo (1994) [literally: Leonardo's bicycle] Because it's written in Spanish (Mexican) and as my command of this language does not allow me to currently read novels, I read it in its French translation (a language that is closer to the Spanish grammar than English is).

I was really fascinated by the construction of the novel, its style and a kind of dark epic that goes trough the whole thing. It's a mix of plots, of historical times, of fiction and historical facts, but the result works. The very realistic style of Taibo II serves well the rather baroque fresco he's painting in this novel. But the painting can be dark, especially when it depicts the revolutionary Barcelona of the twenties, full of blood and madness, or when it narrates the quest of the modern Mexican writer in search of explanations concerning a bleak traffic between USA and Mexico, not forgetting some black humor twist.

Taibo II is using a parallel construction of the plots more as a research on " the story that could harbor all the stories" than as an attempt of real deconstruction. On certain moments it's even a laboratory experimenting on the narrative tenses in fiction. But, even if construction is important, Taibo II's writing carries enough power and soul to keep the reader on its maelstrom, totally captivated by its stories. IMHO a great book.

It's the first book by Taibo II I read, because I had a wrong perception of the writer through some critics, but I wonder if they really read his work. I was still interested, however, because some Avians were praising this author (quite some time ago). A rewarding discovery (at least in my case).

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries http://www.geocities.com/Athens/6384

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