The Uncomfortable Dead


The Uncomfortable Dead
Subcomandante Marcos and Paco Ignacio Taibo II, translated by Carlos Lopez
2007, Serpent’s Tail
288 pages

BRAHMA, the Hindu supreme god and creator of the cosmos, is red and has four hands, each of which holds a portion of the Vedas, the corpus of Sanskrit texts that hold the key to all wisdom. Subcomandante Marcos and Paco Ignacio Taibo II are also red and, together, have four hands. Their remarkable collaborative novel, The Uncomfortable Dead, also contains philsophical and cosmological insights, albeit interwoven within a detective mystery like no other. This book brings together alternate episodes in a story first published in the newspaper La Jornada written by Marcos, the celebrated, masked spokesman of the Zapatista guerrillas in southern Mexico and Taibo, one of Mexico’s most well-known writers perhaps best known internationally for his biography of Che Guevara. The reader will have to judge for himself if this Mexican Vedas holds the key to all wisdom, but it is a worthwhile exercise finding out, given how unusual, witty and entertaining this very different work of contemporary literature is. – EC