Shadow Without a Name: A Novel
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Shadow Without a Name: A Novel

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  145 ratings  ·  19 reviews
In 1943, General Thadeus Dreyer, a WWI hero who trains doubles for Nazi leaders, disappears. In 1960, Adolf Eichmann, a master chess player, is arrested in Buenos Aires, extradited to Israel, and hanged. Years later, a dying Polish count casts doubt on Eichmann's identity, leaving behind a manuscript with clues that tie the three men together. A gripping novel of imposture...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Picador (first published 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 291)
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Emir Never
I have been playing on-and-off chess since I was six years old; meaning, I've been acquainted with (addicted to) the royal game for 24 years now. I've seen so many human characters in the course of these chess years, and, to my mind, human extremes are never as magnified in any other game of skills and chance as they are in chess. Take for example a diminutive hunchback in my hometown: for years, he's been the undisputed King among chess players in our town, perhaps even in the whole province, a...more
a founding member of the "crack" movement (along with jorge volpi, amongst others), mexican writer and diplomat ignacio padilla has written a half dozen novels and a number of short stories. shadow without a name is his only novel currently available in english translation (though a collection of his stories, antipodes, was published by fsg in 2004). shadow without a name (amphitryon) is a complex tale of identity and intrigue, set on two continents over some four decades following world war ii...more
Jul 05, 2014 Rise added it
Padilla, via Borges.

The game of chess, its decisive outcome, was perfect representation for the ways a novelist adopts a strategy, moves his pieces around according to his plan, and goes for the kill when the opportunity arises. At the back of the characters, with all their attendant complexities and motivations, we tended to assume it was the novelist who was doing the pushing. Behind the novelist, it was harder to see who was in control.

Full review:
Now, I really liked this book, but if Padilla is supposed to be representing the rediscovery of Latin American magic realism with his Crack group then I think some fairly important things are missing in the text. Magic things.
The text works really well in terms of postmodernism - the fluidity of identities and complex weaving of characters gradually build into a quasi-revelation about the function of names and the multiplicity of worlds. It left me considering the network of relationships in the...more
..I don't want mentioning the subject of the book (you can see it in many places out there internet) but the way how I feel reading the book, my perspective on how I'd describe this work.

.. It's one of those you need to read open mind letting author move forward anytime he want in order to preserve the narration. As resulting of this the history can't be placed on one single place and can't be tell it using just one voice. So the time passes on and the characters vanishes out just for the health...more
I really enjoyed the subject of this book and the way the story unfolded. The translation leaves much to be desired, however. Unfortunately, the voice of each of the narrators is destroyed in translation. All of the narrating characters speak with the same words and with the same level of comprehension -- which I can't imagine must be the case in its native Spanish. It also feels like it was translated by a Spanish speaker into English -- not by an English speaker translating from Spanish. Again...more
This book was a discussion on identity and how a name can shape identity. I loved the structure and the how the characters and the four different sections build up the layers of the narrative, but also give it a quality of the extraordinary. I will warn American readers, though, that if you are not familiar with a Spanish-language style of writing, you might find this book a bit boring. There isn't a whole lot of scene or dramatization; each piece is like a continuous narrative.
Although the idea behind the book is very good and I liked the beginning very much, I found it a bit tedious to read and ended up skipping a few pages here and there. Then again, I've never liked Mexican & South-American litterature much so this is no surprise for me. I did find the historical facts really interesting, especially the Amphitryon Project (I'll probably do some research about it).
I hate to say this, but this book was over my head. Made me feel like I was taking the SATs again, vocab section. I could tell that there was a lot of research incorporated of historical value and the creatively infused fictional interpretation was unique in style, but ultimately, I had a lot of trouble folllowing the name changes, who killed who, and general timeline of events.
Robert Wechsler
A mystery about identity and the Second World War, a series of narratives by different people about a man who took on various identities. It̕s not something that makes you think very much, although there̕s that possibility. More, it̕s a dazzling performance by a Mexican writer, with nothing at all to do with Mexico.
I first came across this book when I was asked to 'debate' with the author about the 'death of magic realism'. It wasn't much a debate (i.e. we both agreed that magic realism wasn't 'dead'), but I did read his book and I think it's terrific.

Keep notes. It's a tricky one. Or just enjoy it!
Not worth your time. 195 pages of intellectual haughtiness for a story that fills perhaps a quarter of that size. I'd blame it on the translators, but judging from the shit-eating smirk the author is wearing in his jacket photo, the blame would be misplaced.
Ayelet Waldman
What does it say about me that I found it so difficult to remain engaged with this novel? It's interesting; the writing is wonderful. Perhaps it is because there are so few scenes - it's mostly description.
struggle to keep identities straight but strong ending redeemed it. wonder about translation or was just cultural literary habits of spanish writers???
told from multiple perspectives this is an intriguing mystery and fun read (and re-read)
An excellent book that manages to keep your interest through all its pages.
Miramira Endevall
10/3/10 - *Really* excited to read this...

1/1/11 - No comment.
translation, First American edition
Gripping. Surprising. Short.
Cristina marked it as to-read
Sep 13, 2014
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Serge Melnyk
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Jul 29, 2014
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Member of the 'crack movement', redefining Latin American literature outside the confines of magical realism.
More about Ignacio Padilla...
Antipodes: Stories Espiral De Artilleria / Artillery Spiral Amphitryon La Gruta De Toscano/ Toscano's Grotto El androide y las quimeras

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