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Shadow Without a Name
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Shadow Without a Name

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  274 Ratings  ·  28 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 January 1st 2000)
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Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spanish
Borges Gone Haywire

Roberto Arlt meets Raymond Chandler in this noir-tale of shifting identities and uncertain motivations in exotic locations. Not until the final page is a possible reason for the reader's attention revealed. Well not quite. The reader discovers there may have never been a reason at all, no plot to be found, no sense in any of the events described, no point to the tale. So what justifies the time and energy devoted to the work (and it does take a great deal of both to keep the
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translation, fiction
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
Jun 03, 2014 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:
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
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).
Mike Ceballos
La presente novela es un claro ejemplo de las oportunidades que se abren cuando las corrientes literarias latinoamericanas dejan de hablar de las granjas bananera. Lo admito, generalicé y me excedí. Sin embargo el mensaje es el siguiente: me gusta leer historias escritos por mexicanos, donde el tema principal o ambientación sea hablar del campo, pobreza o problemas sociales de nuestro entorno latino. Ignacio Padilla, uno de los miembros del grupo del Crack, hace gala de narrativa ficticia combin ...more
Sandra Uribe
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un libro que se deja querer, quieres más de esta intriga más de una persona que está dispuesto a jugarse la vida por qué la suya perdió valor ... buenísimo
Mar 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.
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.
May 30, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Great premise, but not terribly compelling or interesting.
Esta novela cuenta la historia de un nombre que pasa de persona en persona, no bien cada portador va perdiendo la oportunidad de mantenerlo. El primero la perdió en una partida de ajedrez, pero hubo muchos otros que tuvieron el nombre, y cada uno tenía una historia para ser el portador en cada momento. La novela recrea estas historias por medio del hijo de uno de los más remotos portadores del nombre, para terminar envuelto en una telaraña de intrigas y peligrosas aventuras.

La siguiente imagen e
Cathy Houston
Jun 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
dull, plodding and sad
May 09, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jul 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
..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
Mar 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Robert Wechsler
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
A mystery about identity and the Second World War, a series of narratives by different people about a man who took on various identities. Its not something that makes you think very much, although theres that possibility. More, its a dazzling performance by a Mexican writer, with nothing at all to do with Mexico. ...more
Sue Davis
Una reseña útil:
Y una en inglés:

Me encanta esta novela. Es un laberinto de personajes y los personajes sí mismos andan en sus propios laberintos.
Jan 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magicrealism
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!
Andrés Huitrón
Lo más emocionantes es que no entiendes toda la historia hasta el final del último capítulo. Lo increíble es que se basa en una historia real. Creaste una gran leyenda Ignacio Padilla.
translation, First American edition
Saza Castellanos
Un tablero de ajedrez y sus piezas, las identidades. Una obra brillante (y eso que no soy fan de novelas sobre guerra).
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
struggle to keep identities straight but strong ending redeemed it. wonder about translation or was just cultural literary habits of spanish writers???
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
told from multiple perspectives this is an intriguing mystery and fun read (and re-read)
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book that manages to keep your interest through all its pages.
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Gripping. Surprising. Short.
rated it liked it
Nov 11, 2011
rated it it was amazing
Aug 09, 2016
Claudia Fournier
rated it really liked it
Nov 02, 2015
Sr. Lado Brillante
rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2014
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Member of the 'crack movement', redefining Latin American literature outside the confines of magical realism.
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