Four Hands

Four Hands, by Paco Ignacio Taibo II.jpg
Four Hands, by Paco Ignacio Taibo II.jpg

Four Hands


By Paco Ignacio Taibo II

Translated from the Spanish by Laura C. Dail

A political thriller of spies, hit men, terrorists, drug dealers, and assorted malefactors, all involved in the shadowy fringes of the history of the Americas.

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About the Book

The narrators of Paco Ignacio Taibo II's wonderfully inventive novel, Four Hands, are Greg Simon and Julio Fernandez: investigative journalists uncovering an elaborate plot by an obscure American government agency to vilify the Sandinista leadership in Nicaragua. The story they discover and type out together weaves truth with lies, wild humor with tragedy, and reality with fantasy–a stranger-than-fiction tale of imperial excess where delusion makes perfect sense.

Joining such historical figures as Harry Houdini, Leon Trotsky, Pancho Villa, and Stan Laurel is a sprawling cast of characters that includes Alex, a spymaster with a knack for the absurd; Rolando, a depraved Mexican drug trafficker; and Stoyan Vasilev, a geriatric Bulgarian counterspy.

A “documentary novel” and a passionate satire about the means and ends of politics, Paco Taibo's Four Hands has been compared to the fiction of Marquéz, Dos Passos, Doctorow, and Heller.



“I am his number one fan…. I can always lose myself in one of his novels because of the intelligence and humor.”

—Laura Esquivel, author of Like Water for Chocolate

“Taibo writes with genuine savvy, a crackling wit and a certain zaniness that is his very own…. A storyteller of real genius.”

Los Angeles Times

“Like Bach (or Houdini), the pleasure Taibo offers us consists in watching him set himself a problem of astonishing complexity and then solve it.”

New York Newsday

“It’s impossible to review [Taibo II’s] literary work without painting an ideological portrait. He’s probably the writer on the left with the proudest lineage of all those I’ve read.”

—Christopher Domínguez Michael, Letras Libres

“Taibo's prose is rich in metaphor, and his confident, insightful storytelling makes the individual pieces of his novel intriguing long before the connections among them are apparent. Dail's translation does fine justice to the author's colorful, virtuosic narrative.” 

Publishers Weekly


About the Author

Paco Ignacio Taibo II, or PIT, was born in Gijón, Spain in 1949, before fleeing Franco’s dictatorship with his family in 1958. He has resided in Mexico City ever since, where he’s built a career as a writer, journalist, historian, and perhaps most crucially, a founder of the neopolicial genre in Latin America. His books have been published in twenty-nine countries and translated into nearly as many languages. In addition to being a prolific writer, he is an active member of the international crime writing community and organizes Semana Negra or “Noir Week” in his native Gijón. He has won the Latin American Dashiell Hammett Prize three times, as well as the Mexican Premio Planeta, and several other awards for international crime fiction.


About the Translator

Laura C. Dail graduated from Duke University and received her Master’s degree in Spanish from Middlebury College. She has served on the board of the Association of Authors Representatives (AAR) and currently chairs the AAR Royalties Committee. A literary agent as well as a translator, she is the head of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.


Boos by Paco Ignacio Taibo II