Living in the Shadows of Che Guevara. By L. Guerrero and Louis Reyes Rivera. ISBN:978-1-951088-00-2 440 pgs. $24.95
Fiction / Hispanic & Latin America--Fiction--Social Life and politics; Che Guevara Biography, Latino literature Che Guevara Fictional Biography; Hispanic literature Historical Fiction; Che Guevara Historical Fiction, Che Guevara assassination Bolivia
This book is published by Floricanto Press.
“It’s said that Don Quixote went mad from reading too many wild romances of chivalry. The greatest of these was Amadís of Gaul with its mysterious heroine Oriana, who would appear in Ariosto’s poem, Proust’s Duchese de Germantes. L. Guerrero and Louis Reyes Rivera have given us Oriana once more in what could pass as a latter-day romance of chivalry. There is nothing virtual about Latin American reality as it borders so closely on the world of the fantastic. Its tale might well drive some contemporary Quixote daft. Readers of this novel must be careful and look to their sanity.” —Gregory Rabassa, the preeminent American translator of Spanish and Portguese; his works include Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis’s The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas.
Johnny Temple, Publisher of Akashic Book spoke highly about the novel Living In the Shadows of Che Guevara: “This is an international crime story with the ghosts and skeletons of history. This story melds the personal, and the individual characters, with the political and international which is handled organically. This book reminds me of one of my favorite novels of the last 20-years, Four Hands, by Paco Ignacio Taibo II, a book that also features a journalist-protagonist, along with a cast of other characters.”
Conspiracy, cocaine, and Che
Living in the Shadows of Che Guevara gives readers an action-oriented thriller that ties together virtually every South American trope.
By Matthew D. Edward
Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s death at the hands of Bolivian troops in 1967 cast a shadow over revolutionary movements across Latin America. Che, some 50 years later, still evokes emotions ranging from adoration to abhorrence, and everything in between.
“The current court of opinion places Che on a continuum that teeters between viewing him as a misguided rebel, a Cruscatingly brilliant guerrilla philosopher, a poet-warrior jousting at windmills, a brazen warrior who threw down the gauntlet to the bourgeoisie, the object of fervent paeans to his sainthood, or a mass murderer clothed in the guise of an avenging angel whose every action is imbricated in violence—the archetypal Fanatical Terrorist,” wrote Peter McLaren in Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution.
Living in the Shadows of Che Guevara wraps Che’s execution in Bolivia around a myriad of Latin American story elements readers likely are familiar with—the CIA secretly running drugs, guerrilla women, corruption, drug lords who are above the law—and throws in a journalist protagonist who has to sort through the morass of factions, relationships, and evil deeds. Along the way, Che continually makes appearances, whether through dreams or via exposition, but authors L. Guerrero, his nom de plume, and Louis Reyes Rivera never seem to explain why or how the legendary revolutionary is connected to the ongoing plot. That remains a mystery in the shadows.
Guerrero and Rivera bring together the makings of a good story, starting off with an assassination attempt on an American newspaper editor whose paper has been covering narco-wars in Colombia, which prompts the protagonist, Noel, to get down to Medellin to get the real story. Along the way the authors add in elements of Don Quixote, references to Oliver North and Iran-Contra, and a lot of talk about the infamous School of the Americas, where Latin American military officers were trained during the Cold War. The story starts off strong, bringing Noel to Colombia where he encounters competing guerrilla groups and even experiences a bombing, targeted at him, his first day in country.
Still, the authors’ in-depth knowledge of journalism shines through, with a few fantastic exchanges that sound right out of a newsroom.
“Let me be more direct, do you know if he’s been kidnapped?”
“Who told you about that?”
Noel breathes an ugly sigh. “Thank you for confirming it,” he says and hangs up.
As the novel heads toward its climax, however, the plot begins to move. Why so many characters including intelligence operatives, ambassadors, and guerrilla leaders open up to our journalist hero on the case. Then, in the final punchline---the reporter snags some classified documents which link one of the Watergate burglars to the assassination of the legendary Che Guevara--the ultimate coup for Rico Noel who, in the end, gets the story and the beautiful Oriana Guzman as his prize possession. But, the sheer number of conspiracies, organizations, and historical references could leave even well-read readers in the dust. The ghost of Che also returns with ultimate secret story which is wrapped up like riddle with the CIA connections, etc.
Readers may be left feeling that the novel is like Latin America itself, difficult to grasp without inside knowledge and connections.
Living in the Shadows of Che Guevara
By L. Guerrero and Louis Reyes Rivera
Published by Floricanto Press