Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Picaresque Romp Runs Out of Steam, 20 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Twelve Fingers: Biography of an Anarchist (Paperback)
I have a weakness for picaresque novels, and so picked up this one about a Serbo-Brazillian anarchist assassin with great anticipation. It tells the story of Dmitiri, a 12-fingered boy with a gift for languages and a childhood in a Balkan circus at the start of the 20th century. Like Zelig (or Forest Gump, take your pick), he moves across continents and in and out of the fringes of history, a part of major events, but always just out of the frame, or slightly out of focus (quite literally -- the book is heavily illustrated with period photos). Despite his other gifts, Dmitri is a physical bungler, and his mishaps bend the course of history as he encounters such figures as Archduke Ferdinand, Mata Hari, Jean Jaurés, Marie Curie, Al Capone, George Raft, FDR, and Ferdinand Marcos. As quasi-historical fiction, it's fun stuff (especially delicious is a homicidal dwarf who pursues Dmitiri throughout the book), and Soares does a wonderful job weaving his earnest protagonist into history. However, the pratfalls do get a little repetitive over time -- even for a fan of the picaresque, and the book kind of runs out of steam just when it should be climaxing. Nonetheless, it has whet my appetite to track down the author's first book in translation, A Samba for Sherlock.
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Review Details

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3.8 out of 5 stars (4 customer reviews)
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Reviewer

A. Ross
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: Washington, DC

Top Reviewer Ranking: 480