Following the chance discovery of certain documents, a historian sets out to unravel the mystery of a murder committed in his childhood Mexico City home in the autumn of 1942. Mexico had just declared war on Germany, and its capital had recently become a colorful cauldron of the most unusual and colorful of the European ilk: German communists, Spanish republicans, Trotsky and his disciples, Balkan royalty, agents of the most varied secret services, opulent Jewish financiers, and more.
As the historian-turned-detective begins his investigation, he introduces us to a rich and eccentric gallery of characters, the media of politics, the newly installed intelligentsia, and beyond. Identities are crossed, characters are confounded; Pitol constructs a novel that turns on mistaken identities, blurred memories, and conflicting interests, and whose protagonist is haunted by the ever-looming possibility of never uncovering the truth. At the same time a fast-paced detective investigation and an uproarious comedy of errors, this novel cemented Pitol’s place as one of Latin America’s most important twentieth-century authors. Winner of the Herralde Prize in 1984, The Love Parade is the first installment of what Pitol would later dub his Carnival Triptych.
“This novel is not only the best that Pitol has written, but one of the best novels in Mexican literature.” —Sergio González Rodríguez, La Jornada
“Sergio Pitol in the splendor of his mastery. A great novel.” —Florian Borchmeyer, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Mexican writer and Cervantes Prize winner Pitol (Mephisto's Waltz), who died in 2018, offers an enticing and byzantine story of political intrigue set in Mexico City in 1973. Historian Miguel Del Solar seeks the truth about the murder of Erich Maria Pistauer, which occurred in 1942 in the Minerva building when Miguel was 10 and living there with his aunt, uncle, and his aunt's unsavory brother, Arnulfo Briones, Erich's stepfather. Fashionable at the time, the Minerva housed foreign diplomats and a once-powerful class of Mexicans. During the war, the city had become a hive of foreign conspiracies, and when Del Solar discovers that two others were wounded that night, he comes to believe that the Minerva may have been at the very center of the chicanery. Erich's murder occurred on the evening of a party thrown by another tenant, which was attended by Mexicans and Germans, right-wing Catholics and Jews, all of them harboring secrets. Everyone Miguel interviews dissembles, their conversations as confusing as a game of telephone. Was Arnulfo working with the Germans? Was Erich, who was Austrian, killed in revenge? In the end, the author has conjured an ingenuous portrait of a city, its people, and an era. Pitol's eccentric, genre-breaking style exerts a strong pull.