Shelfari edited the description of Twelve Fingers: Biography of an Anarchist Thursday, August 20, 2009.
A burlesque smorgasbord of international high jinks—the “biography” of a hapless, twelve-fingered, would-be assassin who lurches from Sarajevo to Paris to Hollywood to Chicago to Rio, leaving high-stakes chaos in his wake. Our hero, Dimitri Borja Korozec, is born in the late 1800s to a Brazilian contortionist mother and a fanatically nationalist Serbian linotypist father. Dimitri enrolls in a training school for assassins, where he excels—except for his troubling propensity for fouling things up at the last moment. Part Carlos the Jackal, part Woody Allen’s Zelig, part Inspector Clouseau, and part Forrest Gump, Dimitri is a schlemiel of an assassin and anarchist who can’t seem to kill anyone. He does, however, cause enough mayhem to help start World War I, spread Spanish influenza to the American continent, and unintentionally trigger various other significant events of the twentieth century by slipping and falling, misreading signs, and misunderstanding instructions. Along the way Dimitri runs into—and, sometimes, nearly over—a diverse cast of bit players: Mata Hari, Al Capone, Carmen Miranda, Marie Curie, Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Irving Thalberg, George Raft, and even Aleister Crowley make their appearances. Jô Soares weaves the lives of his characters in and out of modern history, creating odd synchronicities, uncanny coincidences, and the impression that this “biography” might almost be true. True or not, it’s a laugh-out-loud romp that provides an intriguing new perspective on the history and major figures of our time, blurring the line between fact and fiction—a line which, had he encountered it on his way to an assassination, Dimitri would most certainly have tripped over.